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Sometimes we find ourselves in a financial rut. And it can happen to the best of us.
Managing money on a consistent basis can be difficult.
Especially if you didn’t grow up hearing good advice.
I think how one handles money is often a direct result of how they saw their parents handle their finances.
Poor habits often start young.
Not saving or budgeting properly for things is often one of the biggest financial mistakes people make.
But don’t worry, just because you hit a wall doesn’t mean you can’t rise above your financial woes.
Below I’ve listed 10 ways to overcome financial hardships so that you can get back on the right path.
If you are going to get out of your financial funk, you first need to figure out how you got into it in the first place.
Identifying where you went wrong will stop you from making the same mistakes again.
Here are some of the top issues that people run into that gets them into money troubles:
- Being fired or experiencing a pay cut
- Overspending on frivolous things
- Illness or hospital visit
- Not budgeting properly for big expenses
- You didn’t properly plan your retirement
- High rent or mortgage
- Divorce that takes you from two incomes down to one
There could be other factors that may have caused your financial troubles.
Whatever the issue, make a note of it and then start making positive changes to prevent future mistakes.
So you’ve done all you can to cut back on your expenses, but still find yourself unable to save money.
That’s when it’s time to start looking into different ways you can earn extra cash.
There are other, more passive ways to earn money.
One of which is to take surveys.
While you won’t make money very quickly (though if you are really diligent you could), you can make it easily.
Some top survey sites worth checking out include:
- Survey Junkie (lots of surveys and only need $10 to cash out)
- SwagBucks ($5 sign-up bonus with many ways to earn)
- LifePoints (lots of surveys and most are high-paying)
- Springboard America (possible to earn up to $50 per survey)
- Vindale Research ($1 sign-up bonus and abundance of surveys)
Another passive way to earn cash is in the form of cashback. There are some apps that will give you cashback when you do your typical, everyday shopping.
- Ibotta ($10 bonus when you scan your first receipt)
- Pei (earn cash or bitcoin instantly)
- Drop (link a credit card and earn points for cash)
- Dosh (track your spending and get cashback rewards)
And you can sell pretty much anything from clothes and shoes, to furniture or even art if you have it.
If those platforms don’t work out, you can go the more traditional route and have a yard sale. =
The key to making money is to keep your prices fairly low to attract buyers.
Take On A Side Hustle
If you already have a full time job, consider taking on a side hustle or two to help supplement your current income.
Some easy side jobs include:
- Earn cash delivering food with DoorDash
- Teach English online with VIPKID or Education First
- Freelance with Fiverr
- Dog walk
So now that you’ve identified your problem areas, your next step is to take immediate action in fixing the issue.
Some people waste time lamenting their troubles and thinking about what ifs. Forget that.
Once the damage is done, accept it and move on. The only way you can start getting out of your rut is to start taking action.
This means you will actively make changes, like cutting back on overspending or figuring out where you can work on saving more money.
Personally, I found my biggest issue to be overspending…on pretty much everything.
It is easy to overspend, especially if you don’t have a budget to keep track of your expenses.
Some things that you don’t think are expensive…like that daily coffee from Starbucks, end up costing you $20 or more a week.
Or the twice a week happy hour drop-in costs you $40 a week. Individually it doesn’t sound like a lot.
But when you look at your credit card bill at the end of the month, you realize you over spent on unnecessary things that added up to $100s wasted.
If you are in a financial rut right now, then you need to actively make the choice to spend less until you get your money in order and your life on track.
This could mean several months of eating simple meals, skipping happy hour and any social event that costs money, and saying no to Starbucks.
When I talk about bills, I mean the mandatory bills that you will automatically pay each month. This usually includes: mortgage/rent, utilities, phone, cable, and insurance.
Make a list of your recurring bills and how much you spend on each. Then sit down and see where you can lower your bills.
For example, if your electric bill is high, consider unplugging more electronics when you are not home. Or make sure all your lights are off or even switch to energy efficient light bulbs.
If your water bill is high, try taking shorter showers, or do bigger loads of laundry versus smaller, frequent loads.
Those with a high cell phone bill will want to either change their cell phone provider or contact their current provider to negotiate a better plan.
And if you’re someone still paying for cable, maybe it’s time to think about canceling it. You’ll miss your favorite shows for a bit but the extra cash will make up for it.
You can try both for FREE for 30 days as a trial run.
For many, the cost of food tends to be one of our bigger expenses. Not everyone shops smartly.
This means you go to the grocery store without a plan and pick up items on a whim. Shopping this way means you aren’t factoring in the cost of each item and how much you need.
This kind of shopping also means you are likely popping into the grocery store fairly frequently. Those little trips add up to be expensive when not budgeted properly.
Making a food budget will help keep your grocery bill under control. To do this you’ll need to make a list of what you need and what meals you plan on consuming.
Meal planning and food budgeting go hand and hand. Meal planning will keep you from running out and grabbing lunch or dinner.
You’ll also shop smarter when you meal plan because then you can pick up only what you need and focus on the sales happening that week.
Sometimes, the best way to improve your money troubles is to put yourself on a strict no buy challenge.
A no buy challenge is just that. You opt to not buy any “material” items for a set amount of time. Those wanting to save more money quickly usually stick to the challenge for a year.
Most no buy challenges mean that you won’t buy anything that is not considered an essential. Outside of your standard bills, and that includes groceries and transportation, you won’t spend any extra money.
This means no eating out, no buying clothes/shoes, and for some even skipping the salon or barber for their monthly cut or blow out.
No buy challenges can be difficult, but extremely rewarding. I like to do them because it shows me exactly how little I can get by with.
After the challenge you may find that you’ve completely adopted a new way of living and thinking when it comes to money.
8. Decrease Debt and Stay Out of Debt
This one may seem obvious, as high amounts of debt is typically the main type of financial trouble people run into.
Decreasing that debt is the first step toward stability. To do this can take time, but you need to start making frequent payments, even if they are small.
Every payment counts and will help shrink your debt. Once you have your debt paid off or at least fairly low, you need to work on staying out of debt.
This goes back to earlier tips where you limit what you buy, decrease your spending and lower your bills.
Following those steps will keep you debt free or at least make any debt you accrue more manageable.
9. Take Out A Loan
Sometimes, when our unpaid bills are just too high and you need to get things paid off ASAP, a loan can be a quick fix to help you breathe a little.
When it comes to loans, there are a couple of different loan options you can choose from. Shop around and find the one that best fits your needs.
Personal loans are great when you need a small loan quickly. They are usually short term and come with a fixed interest rate and low payment options.
This loan works for homeowners who have equity in their home. You could look into refinancing and end up getting a low interest rate.
For peer-to-peer loans your interest rate will vary based on your credit score and risk factor. This is a good option when banks don’t seem to be willing to give you a loan.
Establishing a budget is key to staying out of debt, managing your money and staying on top of your bills.
A budget will let you track the money coming into your bank and where your money is going.
Your budget will cover everything from your mandatory monthly bills, to things like eating out, going to the movies, shopping and pretty much anything you spend money on.
Tracking your expenses will give you a clear picture of where you are spending too much and where you need to start working on saving money.
A budget will help stop you from living from paycheck to paycheck and start enjoying life.
Check out these apps for budget tracking:
We all face some kind of money issues from time to time. Sometimes the issues are big and sometimes they are small. Either way, money troubles are never any fun.
But your financial woes don’t need to last forever. Following the tips above can definitely help you get over the financial hardship hump.
Going forward, you will need to actively make smarter decisions with your money so that you don’t find yourself in a financial rut again.
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of the last tip. Keeping a budget really does make a difference!
If any of these tips have helped you, let me know in the comments below. Or if you know of other helpful ways to overcome financial hardships you can comment on that too!
As always, thanks for reading and happy frugaling!