There’s no way to disguise it, being broke sucks. When you’re living to paycheck to paycheck, it’s a struggle to buy the things you need. The things you want to buy might as well be hidden somewhere on the planet Mars for as likely as you’ll get them. It’s hard to keep your spirits up when you’re constantly counting your pennies. Down in the dumps, you might expect being broke will be a part of your identity forever, and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
That’s where you’re wrong. When you focus so much on what you lack, it’s easy to ignore some of the opportunities you have at your disposal. Sometimes, small, seemingly inconsequential changes to your habits can be the key to saving money successfully. Turn your attention away from what you don’t have, and look at the following tips and tricks to see how simple these changes can be.
Start Using a Budget
According to a Gallup poll, only one-third of Americans use a household budget. The remaining two-thirds don’t track their income or expenses. It’s hardly a coincidence that 63 percent of Americans (roughly two-thirds) don’t have the savings to pay for an emergency exceeding $500.
A budget is the most important financial tool anyone can have, regardless of the number on their paycheck or in their accounts. It’s a way of accounting for every dollar you earn and spend, so you understand where and how you use your money.
Financial expert to Millennials, Douglas Boneparth, suggests you break your spending into categories, so you can track individual purchases easier. Once you’ve tallied your budget for a couple of months, you’ll see which categories are draining most of your cash.
It could be as simple as one too many lattes in any given month. Sometimes, however, it’s a systemic problem, like when you overspend in most categories, including rent and groceries. When it’s the latter, solving your cash flow problems isn’t as easy as cutting out a daily latte. It means you have to totally re-evaluate your relationship with money.
Read up on Budgeting Techniques
Start small by investigating ways to cut down your spending. Websites like NBC and MSN often share top financial advisor’s recommendations online for free. Their advice is typically pretty general, so they can reach the widest audience.
For advice tailored for people like you in mind, you can temper these all-purpose tips with financial guidance from the experts at MoneyKey, a direct lender that prides itself in providing realistic financial resources for its customers. They share savings tips and budget methods that work with even the smallest budgets. Their practical techniques usually require making small changes to the way you manage your money, yet they could have a huge impact on your finances.
If this doesn’t help you cut down on spending or increase your savings, then you may have chronic cash flow problems that you can’t solve with the advice you find online. For chronic money issues, you should speak with a private financial advisor, so they can provide personalized care with solutions unique to your specific situation.
Automate Your Finances
Simply from a perspective of convenience, automating your finance will totally revolutionize the way you manage your money. Once you authorize your bank to automatically withdraw funds and pay bills, you’ll save so much time you would otherwise waste by writing checks or sending off payments manually. Even basic banking tasks, like checking in on your account balance or reviewing your cash loan balance, are easier and require only a few clicks of your mouse.
More importantly, it helps anyone who struggles to remember due dates. When you authorize payees, you approve a payment schedule by selecting the amount and time of these payments. While you can do it for singular payments, its most beneficial for those recurring payments, like rent, insurance, and utilities. Once you automate these payments, you’ll never miss a due date because you forgot what day it was. You can even set up an automatic savings contribution, so you never forget to plan for the future.
Have a Plan B
At the start of your automatic journey, it might feel weird to let the computer manage your finances. When you aren’t personally responsible for the withdrawals, it’s easy to overdraw on your accounts. If your budget doesn’t have a lot of excess cash, you might accidentally use the money you’ve promised in an automated payment on an unexpected bill or repair.
If you don’t realize the overlap in time to cancel the payment, your bank will attempt to pay the bill. You will have to pay an overdraft fee if you have insufficient funds at the time the bank tries to withdraw, and you will have to pay a late fee for missing the automated payment.
Before you have to deal with both a late fine and that pesky overdraft fee, consider using an online cash loan to cover these unexpected expenses. They act as a quick stopgap between paychecks when you don’t have enough money to pay all your bills. But before you apply, learn more about payday loans to see if they’re something your budget can handle. Each advance will have different terms and conditions that may affect your ability to repay them on time. While some require you to repay the full sum by your next paycheck, others, like MoneyKey installment loans, give you more leeway with extended repayment schedules that coincide with several paydays. Depending on the lender, you may be able to automate these payments as well.
Take Advantage of YouTube
While a great resource for cute cats and adorable dogs, YouTube offers more than just a peek at the world’s fuzziest creatures. It can be a teacher for those interested in expanding their financial know-how and improving their financial literacy. Depending on the channel, you can find long-form lectures or quick and punchy videos that discuss the topic of your choice. From investments to budgeting and everything in between, you can stand to learn a lot by scrolling through the financial part of YouTube.
It can also save money by replacing your gym membership. YouTube hosts a ton of fitness routines, yoga practices, and specialized workout videos that you could follow from home. Once you find a few YouTubers that you like, you can cancel your gym membership and attend the YouTube at-home gym instead. When the average American spends around $54 every month on the gym, this change could save you’re a lot of money in a year.
These changes may be small and easy to accommodate, but they promise to have a huge impact on your finances. Perhaps their greatest feature is that all these changes are free. There’s no harm in trying out a budget, in automating your finances, or visiting YouTube. Try these techniques to see if they can help you start managing your money with confidence.