How quickly could you recover from a financial folly if it were to happen today?
It would be a disaster for the millions living paycheck-to-paycheck.
These follies come about in many ways:
· Natural disasters (like we’ve seen this hurricane season)
· Medical emergencies (broken bone? That’ll cost ya)
· Vehicle troubles (flat tires and engine failures)
These events happen in little ways, too. An unexpected expense when you’re already riding the line could put you in the negative and incur overdraft fees. Or, you could find yourself defaulting on a credit line or loan which ultimately hurts your credit score (and future endeavors that need it).
You Have Financial Options
Say YES to financial aid (and options) if it’s there.
These windfall moments don’t happen often – it’s an opportunity get on track. Some come about through a bit of luck while others are done through force of will.
Here are three options for getting finances on track and building a buffer:
· Small Loans – Fast installment loans work well if you have self-control. This will provide funds to cover emergency expenses so you don’t incur additional costs. They come with flexible repayment options and let you borrow up to $1,250 which could eliminate chunks of debt so you’re not stuck with high APR’s.
· Raises or Job Shifts – Wages have been stagnant for some time. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a raise if you feel you deserve it! Go in with the right tactics and come out with more hourly income. If they won’t honor your hard work? Forget ‘em, hop ship and find a job that’ll (often) start you with higher pay for the same position – because raises rarely keep up with new salary demands.
· Govt Assistance – Plenty of government benefits are available to help cover general, household, education, food, and health expenses. Look at Benefits.gov and input your information to see eligibility. Otherwise, chat with a local representative to see your options and begin the application process.
These “leg-ups” will help start the process of financial stability – your next task is…
Tightening the Budget
Yes, you can tighten the budget so far that you risk physical and mental health – I don’t recommend this – which is why you need to find balance.
A balance will come when you first get an idea of your income & expenses.
1. Write down your take-home pay (after taxes)
2. Track your current in/out else do so in a spreadsheet
3. List and prioritize all recurring bills & monthly expenses
4. Do the same for regular expenses (e.g. eating out, dates, etc)
5. Summarize how much you’re spending vs what’s left over
This will provide insight of where you can cut back – gasp! A budget!
The easiest ways to save extra every month has been:
· Taking advantage of BOGO grocery deals and always using leftovers
· Planning the day and minimizing trips to save on gas
· Finding cheap (or free) date ideas or family outings
· Cutting out the vices and using tracking apps to reinforce the savings
It’s hard when it feels like you’re stuck in neutral but this will pass as your bank account grows. Before long you’ll have enough savings to handle those one-off financial follies.
You’d be amazed as to how productive and creative you feel once you’re not worrying about bills on a weekly basis. The cost of living is still there but at least it’s no longer paycheck-to-paycheck.
Sticking It Out
The difficulty of financial stability is the temptation and “escapism” found with spending money.
They like to call it retail therapy.
Allowing us to have a short high that fades, causes stress, and creates a cycle. A cycle, like addiction, that only exacerbates the financial situation.
There’s no nobility in their rejection. You’re not “better” than others just because you reject financial aid. The financial options are available for a reason – to help you get back on track. So, use them!