It can be stressful thinking about how to make ends meet while on a tight budget nowadays. But something should be done, life has to turn around.
These days, the struggle on how to make ends meet on a shoestring budget is remarkable especially in these pandemic times. Needless to say, the wage that we’re earning each month can hardly meet our needs and necessities, how much with the simple luxuries? But then living on a stingy budget is possible provided that we know how to manage our finances the right way. You can still a wholesome financial life on a low-income budget.
If you are faced with the trouble on how to make ends meet, let me tell you that you are not alone. Most are facing the consequences of a scrambling US economy. Yet even when there is a scarcity in financial resources, you can still live on a limited budget as long as you know how to manage your income effectively. Here is a guide designed to help you identify with a better evaluation of your present financial standing, point out the funds and course of actions open for you and help you start the process of improving your financial status.
Make Ends Meet by Having a Budget
If you are experiencing a hard time on how to make ends meet, shift your lens on budgeting, making a list of all your monthly expenses. This is the most effective way to “keep one’s head above water” financially. Make a list of all your monthly expenses like bills and debts that need to be paid including average (monthly) expenditures such as food, clothing and household needs. Write down exactly how much you earn and once you have figured out the influx and outflow of money into your home, you can begin to trim down your expenses.
You must plan wisely on how you will spend the dollars that come into your household each month. Not having a plan though is still a plan, but not knowing how to budget is a plan to just simply throw away the hard-earned money up into thin air. Keep a record of your monthly wage and every single dollar that you spend. If you have not budgeted before, then it’s time to begin with small steps, in this way you can make a difference on how to make ends meet.
Once you have developed the knack for budgeting, you will begin to discern irregular expenses when you gain that skill, the more you do it. Just like in learning how to bake, the longer you practice budgeting, the greater success you will acquire on how to make ends meet. It will help you get track of your income and keep from spending more than you can earn.
Break Monthly Expenses Into Needs vs. Wants
The key to understanding on how to make ends meet is to assess your monthly expenses into needs and wants and where you can cut back on unnecessary spending. Economics define a need as something that is essential for our survival while a want is a step higher from a need, something that we desire to have, yet we can be able to live without it. We need food, clothing, a house, education and healthcare, wants are the products or services which we would like to have as part of our impulses. You can survive the day on a simple meal (need) and no need to splurge on dining our (want); we can get by with affordable clothing (need) rather than showing off with expensive outfits (want).
Sometimes there are needs that are really wants. The line between these two is obscure and it’s baffling to differentiate which of the expenses belong into which bracket. You need an internet if you work from home but if you use WiFi just to browse on social media, then that is a want. The cue then on how to make ends meet is to be aware on your spending which should be in a position with your values and priorities.
Cut Back on Spending
When you’re battling on how to make ends meet, putting an end to wants is the easiest way to cut back on your spending and save money. Every day you need to go to work by commuting and instead of spending on gas, you can take a bus. Be comfortable with little that you have and accept the things that you can afford at the moment. You need to confront the feeling of deprivation to cut back on spending.
Always find joy in simple things by maintaining a simple lifestyle, this is how to make ends meet. Spending is not bad as long as it is in the right time and you can afford it. You know that when you postpone your spending, you are actually saving. If you are trying to get a hand on your finances, it is important to monitor spending on an ongoing basis. By writing down everything you buy on a piece of paper, you will be pondering more on each procurement and spend with a purpose rather than being unmindful.
Become a Planner to Make Ends Meet
How to make ends meet can be quite a challenge because with good planning be it financial or household concerns, you can do better. A good financial planning helps you control your short-term and long-term (financial) goals and create a steady plan to meet those aspirations. That also holds true with household concerns like meal planning, before you go the grocery shop plan ahead what you will be cooking and begin with what you have in your fridge and pantry. See if you can eke out a meal on the things that you find without spending a dime and begin to think what simple ingredient to add for additional meals so you can cut down doing a purchase at the store.
Becoming a good planner is tough at first especially when you are struggling on how to make ends meet. If housing breaks your situation, plan to cut down on your expenses by considering one of these things – find a cheaper place to rent or get a roommate to counterbalance the rent. It is inherent that spending should be less than what you earn and it’s not just the food and housing that takes good planning. Bi-monthly, quarterly and yearly bills like electricity, car registration also need to be considered so you don’t get upset when the bills appear.
Stay Off from Bad Debt and Live Within Your Means
In the U.S., debt has become a reality wherein about 7 out of 10 Americans have experienced borrowing money. Good debt is useful if the amount you borrow is good to be used for productive purposes like buying a house. If the debt is spent to pay for a phone plan or credit card then this is a bad debt. It is a double-edge sword, using a loan to buy a want makes it tougher on how to make ends meet and it is always best to maintain a simple lifestyle, living within your means.
Being glued in debts is a gridlock to your money, you cannot have the freedom to do the things that you would like to do with it. Its effect is more than just a financial one as the continuous insistence of bad debt can also harm your health, relationships and your work. When you are debt-free you can sleep soundly at night and have gotten rid of the emotional baggage on how the make ends meet.
Once you get your grip on how to make ends meet, it is about time to begin designing for the bigger scenario. Having both short-term and long-term goals are important to make sure you on course and ready for the important things to come. To have an emergency savings fund is also important. It is also particularly necessary to consider for your retirement no matter what age you are now.
When you know exactly where your financial priorities are, it is easier how to make ends meet. You will be in a better position to come up with a financial game plan to achieve your goals. If you are behind of a sound financial stage in life, don’t give up, you have to practice and start fixing your finances. It will not be easy but at the end of the day it will be worth it.
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About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.