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Budgeting in Difficult Time

Hello! Its been a while! It’s been a chaotic year to say the least. This year has been a difficult one to say the least. There is a lot of uncertainty and many are struggling financially. I have gone through financial struggles in the past and 2020 has come full force in our home.

I want to help with some tips on how to budget, save, and put yourself in a financially better situation. While these are not promises, they are methods to get yourself in a better position.

Don’t Fear!

First step is to take a breathe. Trying to gather thoughts and ideas while in panic mode will have you spinning in circles. Take a breath!

If you can, go to a peaceful spot. I like to relax in the shower. I turn on the hot shower and jump in, cry it out, remind myself of who I am, think about the times I have overcome, pray/cry out to God, then simply let the water hit me while I let my mind and body relax.

Find your place and go there. Get yourself into a state of mind where you can create ideas and brainstorm – a state of positive thinking. This process is different for everyone. Some may find peace on a car drive, a walk, exercising, baking, cleaning, etc… Whatever your method may be, find peace and clear your mind.

Brainstorm

Think about where you are financially right now. Grab a notepad to write down.

  • What is your cash on hand?
  • What is in your savings?/Do you have a savings?
  • What bills are paid and which ones are due?
  • How does your pantry and fridge look?
  • Do you still have medical coverage? Are you in need of it?

Remember, don’t let yourself go into chaos. This is simply a moment where you are trying to figure out where you stand. If you find yourself fearful or anxious again – go back to your spot or work through the steps to find yourself calm again.

Once you establish where you are financially, write down your concerns or needs. Are you concerned about health insurance? Groceries? Heat? Write them down.

If you find yourself without medical coverage and are in need, please check into your state’s medicaid. Go to https://www.healthcare.gov for resources in your state.

For essential community resources dial 211 from your phone. Dialing 211 (in most states) will help guide you through health and human services for your area and can help fulfill some of your immediate needs if you find yourself in a tight predicament. Please don’t hesitate. We have all experienced moments where we could use a helping hand. Keep your notepad handy and write down any resources that 211 provides and make sure you follow through with each one.

Trimming your budget

During moment of financial stress, it’s important to place value on every cent. Look at all expenses and find ones to cut.

Can you lower your cell phone plan? Can you reduce the cable bill or eliminate it entirely?

Find ways to reduce your utility bill. Unplug things when they aren’t being used. Cover windows to reduce drafts. Use less hot water.

Reduce your grocery bill. Meal plan for ALL MEALS AND SNACKS! Do not take this lightly! This could make or break your budget! A couple frozen pizza’s for dinner will cost your $10-$15 when ordering in a pizza can cost at least $20-$25. Plan ahead. Do yourself a favor and include easy meals like frozen pizza, nuggets, sandwiches, cereal, etc… if you have children and know you will become tired of cooking large meals. You can still save money buying convenience foods if you are not ordering in or eating out. Complete a pantry challenge. Use up everything you have on hand and only buy when you are missing ingredients.

Buy store brand.

There is usually a store brand for the items we use around the home. Buying store brand or buying on sale/with coupons cuts household expenses.

Find ways around the house to reduce your waste.

Rags instead of paper towels. Mop instead of the Swiffer. Filtered water or Gallons of water instead of water bottles. Stop using disposable cups, utensils, and plates. Be creative! Reducing your waste means you are consuming less. Consuming less=Spending less!

Many households over use detergents.

A little cleaner/detergent can go a long way! I am the master of doing dishes with watered down detergent. I use a foaming hand soap pump and I add dish detergent with water. 1-2 tablespoons of dish detergent can now last me days! Also, you really only need 1-2 tablespoons of laundry detergent per load. The measuring cup that your detergent comes with is at least 8 times more than that.

Whatever you can think of, find ways to reduce what you spend. Delete shopping apps. Go on NO SPENDING binges. This is the moment to really understand want vs. need. Extreme times call for extreme measures.

Increase Your Income

If you already have a job but still find yourself short, time to evaluate your work situation. Are you underpaid? Is it time for a new job? Do you need a second job? Can you do odd jobs? Are you crafty?

During these uncertain times, asking for a raise may be difficult. Take a good look at the status of your employer. Are they laying off because of their situation? Maybe this isn’t the best time to ask. Is the company thriving? Are you a valuable asset to them? Show them how valuable they are. (These are just tips and you should consult a career coach if you are unsure.)

If it’s time for a new job, dust off your resume. Make sure you update it and add the right keywords. Most companies look for keywords on resumes when they are searching for candidates.

There are various ways to generate income.

  • Odd jobs are usually posted on Facebook, Craigslist, Neighbors (App), or word of mouth. Please make sure you are careful picking up odd jobs. Your safety is the most important thing. If you get a bad feeling or it seems unsafe, don’t do it!
  • Try selling your clutter. Do you know the phrase “One man’s trash is another person’s treasure”? This phrase is completely true!!! Sell clothing, games, cards, figurines, china, household goods, furniture, etc… Use Facebook marketplace or apps like Let Go, Mercari, Poshmark, eBay, or have a tag sale. Take well lit, staged pictures of your items when posting online. The more attractive it looks, the more attention the post will receive. When meeting up in person for a sale, please be safe. Meet in a public zone and make sure to follow the CDC guidelines to remain safe. I have personally only been receiving payments through PayPal, Cash app, or Venmo. I haven’t been taking cash to reduce my interactions with others. I also ship items at the expense of the buyer.
  • Are you crafty or handy? Sell your goods and services. Handmade goods can sell on platforms like Etsy.

Continue to Eliminate Your Debt

If your new budget still allows, continue a Debt Snowball. Eliminating debt means your can also eliminate that minimum payment. If you have to pause your debt snowball, continue to make minimum payments on your debt and throw any extra cash at the smallest balance (even if its only a few dollars).

Do not add to your debt at this time. Find creative ways to increase your income and pay off your expenses without going further into debt. Your future self will thank you.

A Few Parting Words

If you are going through a difficult time financially or emotionally, you are not alone. Reach out! Find resources in your community. Reach out to family and friends. Reach out to your church.

If you find yourself having thoughts of self harm call the suicide hotline! 1-800-273-8255

“The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.”

You can do this! You can thrive! You can endure this and come out stronger than you were before. I believe in you! Believe in yourself too!

Leave comments or questions below. I will try my best to answer your questions and I love to hear of the creative ways others use to stay within their budgets. Love you all!

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