9 Real Actions You can take Now to Get Ahead when You’re Struggling
Lately, I’ve shared ways to help you save tons of money and build wealth quickly. And a lot of what I list can help many of you, no matter what your income level is.
I’ve talked about what you can do to cut your grocery bill substantially, how to save money at theme parks, and shared with you some awesome free date night ideas.
But what if you’re just trying to get by? Would any of those posts help you? Probably not enough and probably not the way you would like.
I just recently read an exceptional post by my blogger friend Liz where she discusses a very touchy topic of whether or not frugality is for the rich.
You can read her thoughtful post here.
By the way, I should note that she probably doesn’t know we’re friends, but nonetheless she’s a fellow finance blogger, and I consider all my fellow finance bloggers friends.
Her post really got me thinking about my posts. Am I contributing to helping you if all you’re trying to do at this very moment is get by?
So, I decided that I needed to write this post to help you more than just saving money on mani’s and pedi’s, and saving money on cruises.
If you can’t do any of those things anyway, then those “savings” wouldn’t apply to you and my words would be useless.
Because you see, I’ve been on the other side of the financial spectrum too. I’ve had to pay rent of $1150/ month when I was only making $1200/month net and lived off of WIC.
I know how hard that was. I wish I had ways of making ends meet better than going to a check into cash place to get a payday loan. But at that time, I had no money knowledge and no one to give me tips.
So, I want to give you 9 realistic things you can do this week that can help you get by until the end of the month.
1- Negotiate your rent down
Talk to the landlord about options to lower your rent. Perhaps manage the property part time or mow the lawn or help with the handy work if you know how.
2- Look at programs that could help
In the US, there are great programs that can help you get by even if you’re working. If you have kids under five, WIC will give you food vouchers for formula and food that you can use to get groceries from any grocery store.
If you’re qualified for WIC, you may be eligible to get childcare assistance to get a degree or get another job temporary if you need to.
3- Lower your internet and cell phone bills
I am not suggesting you get a flip phone just because you’re right on money. Did you know there are programs that are backed by the state government in the US that can provide internet and cell phone services for free or a very reduced cost? You can find more info here.
4- Save $5 a week
If that seems like too much, then save $1 to start with. The point is, just start the habit of saving every week. Small amounts add up to large amounts later.
Remember, one small stream of water over time can cut through hard stone.
It only needs consistency and determination. Every dollar you save this week will add up at the end of the month.
5- Shop around for car insurance
People are creatures of habit, and with that being said, you’ve probably been with the same car insurance company for years.
While it’s a hassle to shop around, you may be leaving hundreds of dollars on the table every year. You lose nothing by checking around, you might be pleasantly surprised.
6- Share meals with friends
If you have a friend that’s in a similar financial situation and lives close by, you both can work out an arrangement to cook alternate days and eat together for dinner.
Cooking family style meals like casseroles can feed lots of mouths, if each of you cooks 2-3 times a week and eat together, you can really start to see a drop in grocery bill.
7- Declutter your space
This doesn’t sound like money advice, but just hang on for a sec. If you have items in your home that are taking up physical space, chances are they are taking up mental space too.
Declutter items you never use and sell them. What doesn’t get sold in a couple of weeks should be donated.
Decluttering your space from unwanted items will give you extra money you can use toward your debt or save.
8- Have a “No Spending” day per week
If you’ve never been on a spending fast, this is one of the best ways to get control of your weekly spending. I will warn you, it’s definitely not easy at first.
But, that one day per week will force you to plan ahead for meals, teach you about self-discipline, and condition your spending habits to change for the better.
With time, you’ll start to change the way you spend your money, even on the days that are not deemed “No Spending” days.
9- Create a vision board for your money goals
We hear often of successful people who keep vision boards for things they want to accomplish. Why not create one for money goals you want to accomplish?
If you don’t know what a vision board is, it’s basically a poster board with pictures of things you want to achieve in the next period of your life.
You can post a vision board for the next year and check in once a month to see how your actions are aligning with your vision. Having a visual goal checker like a vision board can greatly improve your daily motivation and can get you to your goals faster.
Often times, we see others so far ahead of us in the money game. And we sincerely want to do better, but don’t know where to start.
So, just for now, choose even just one of these 9 actionable items and see if it makes a difference in your life. It may be a small difference, but remember that a small droplet of water overtime can build a stream that can cut through stone.
It’s consistency that makes you win, not your speed.