Perhaps you or your spouse has lost a job. Maybe your hours have been cut or your bills have soared, and you simply can’t pay them all. You may be on the verge of panic, but there are steps you can take. Read on to find out what to do when you can’t make ends meet.
Review Your Budget
Your first step is to review your budget. If you don’t already have a budget, then make one. This is essential so that you can see your full financial picture right in front of you. List or review all your current income and expenses. Make note of outstanding debts and required payments (along with their due dates). Then determine whether you’re currently in the black or the red. If you’re in the black, this should give you some peace of mind. If you’re in the red, you’re going to have to make some changes.
Make Some Cuts
One of those changes will be cutting expenses. This is painful but necessary. Start by looking at non-essential categories. You might have to cut back on your entertainment, for instance. If you subscribe to several streaming services, cancel them for the time being, so that money can go toward more important expenses. Cancel your cable television, too, and cut back on the number of times you go out to eat or order take-out. Also, look at your cell phone bill, and see if you’re paying for services you don’t use and don’t need. You might be able to switch to a cheaper plan.
Find New Income
On the other side of the equation, you should try to find new sources of income to help balance your budget. If you’ve lost your job or had your hours cut, look for a side gig or two to replace at least some of that income. Build on your skills. If you’re a good writer or have a knack for catching errors, apply for some freelance writing or proofreading jobs. If you’re strong in organization and management, consider becoming a virtual assistant. If you love animals, advertise as a pet sitter. If you don’t mind running errands, work as a delivery driver. The money you bring in can make a big difference during this difficult time.
Get Some Help
If you simply can’t make ends meet no matter what you do, then consider getting some help. You might turn to a local food shelf or charity to get some groceries or help with a particular bill. Alternately, you could turn to family and friends for some assistance if they are able to provide it. Don’t feel embarrassed about this. Everyone needs help sometimes. You may also have to take out a loan, especially if something unexpected happens and you need emergency money for car repairs or medical bills.
Finally, try to stay positive. This may actually be the most difficult item on your list, but it is essential. Going all to pieces and ending up depressed will not help anything. Things will get better.
Making ends meet may seem like an impossible task, but you can work toward it by following these steps.