Tuesday, June 11, 2019

How to Budget Your Way Out of a Tough Spot

We’ve all been there. Looking at the bills coming in, and not having the funds or means to pay for them all. Financial stress is truly one of the most all consuming kinds of stress. 

It lingers in your mind like a fog, spilling over into other areas of your life, making it hard to concentrate on other things until you’ve been able to make a plan to get yourself out of the mess you’re in. It’s difficult to get yourself out, but I promise that eventually you will be out of this tough spot! The first step?

Don’t panic

This seems obvious but is so hard to do! Our instinct is definitely to panic. Letting yourself spiral into a depressive thought cloud of “what ifs” and imagining you’re living in a cardboard box on the street is an easy way to get absolutely nothing done. 

It won’t help your situation at all, and in fact, will probably hinder your problem solving. So, don’t panic. Easier said than done.

Calculate your debt

Okay, so how much do you owe? What kind of mess are you really in? Is it worse than it seems? Writing it all out will help you visualize your problems, and plan out your next steps to taking care of this problem. Whether it’s an unexpected medical bill, a leave of absence, or a huge unexpected home expense. 

Using an actual, physical piece of paper, tally up exactly how much you owe on this bill. Add this amount up against your regular monthly budget. All bills, all expenses, and all income. How much extra are you able to put towards this expense per month?

Put yourself on a payment plan

Depending on what kind of expense you’re dealing with, or if you’re just months behind on your bills, you may be able to sort out some sort of a payment plan, rather than paying the entire lump sum all at once. Talk to whoever you owe the money to, and see if this is an option. 

In most cases, they are willing to be lenient because it means they have a greater chance of actually getting any money back. Be honest about your situation and let them know your plans to pay them back, with monthly amounts and a timeline. Showing that you’ve put a lot of thought and planning into your payment plan will help instill confidence in them!

Find creative ways to make extra money

Obviously, the sooner you are able to get out of this rough financial spot, the better. You have your payment plan, but chances are that you will be paying things down for a long while. You may not be able to do much, but look into some other ways to make a little bit of extra money. Any extra income you are able to bring in, will go straight towards paying off your debts!

Do you have any skills that you could potentially monetize? Are you crafty? If you can knit, crochet, or sew, it’s possible that you could use these skills to make products to sell to niche communities. Look into selling items on facebook marketplace, local online yard sales, and etsy! 

Most people have something up their sleeve that they can produce in their free time without even really realizing it! Maybe you can sew while you are catching up on your tv shows at night.

If you’re not crafty, there are other skills you have that you could make a little extra money off of! If you’re good at writing, apply for freelance writing jobs in your area and online. 

See if you can clean windows, mow lawns, or mend furniture. There is definitely something out there that you are capable of doing and monetizing for a short period of time to help you get out of this spot.

Ask for help

No one likes to ask for help, but sometimes you have to swallow your pride, and see if someone can help lighten your load. This doesn’t have to be financial help. If you need childcare in order to pick up a few extra shifts, reach out to family and neighbors to see if anyone can watch your kids. 

You don’t have to go through this tough time by yourself, and even just having some moral support from friends and loved ones can help you as you navigate.

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