Making ends meet

Making ends meet is something many families may be struggling with right now. Even when you think you have cut every bill as low as it can go, it still might not feel like enough. Making ends meet during hard times means making your income match your spending.

There are a plethora of reasons why achieving this might seem difficult. You might be on a limited income, dealing with a death or divorce, or unable to find work. There are also additional side effects like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse that some people must also navigate through. 

To begin working towards making ends meet during hard times, you must first realize that the task is up to you. No one else but you can make these decisions and move forward. When you begin by shaping your attitude and working with an optimistic outlook, you can succeed and achieve your goals. 

Making Ends Meet Starts With Looking at Your Highest Cost Items

You can clip all the coupons you want until you are blue in the face, but saving 25 cents on shampoo is not going to give you the results you are looking for. Instead, focus on your highest cost items first.

That typically means looking at your rent/mortgage and your mode of transportation. These are areas where you have the potential to instantly save big. Here are some things to consider:

For housing, you might consider hopping into a rental at a lower price. You could also rent out a bedroom so you can get help paying your bills. Lastly, consider the option to move in with family for a reduced rent or in some cases, rent-free. Remember, this can be absolutely temporary. You might find that just a few short months can make the impact you are looking for.

When it comes to transportation, you might have even more options. Again, you can temporarily sell your car and make do with another mode of transportation like walking, public transit, biking, or rideshare. Everyone loves the independence of having their own ride, but it could be the very thing that is dragging you down.


Optimize Other Bills to Make Ends Meet

When you are able to optimize your other bills, you can collectively make another dent in your budget. Each bill will require a thorough and thoughtful approach to reduce, minimize, or eliminate it altogether. Here are some things to consider:

Car Insurance: If you end up ditching your car, for the time being, you can also ditch your car insurance. If you are keeping your vehicle, this is the time to start shopping in the market for a new quote. If you also carry rental or homeowner’s insurance, you might also get a deal on a bundle policy. You want to contact an independent insurance agency so they can shop the market for you. 

Cell Phone: Many people waste tons of money each month on their cell phone bills. There are actually many plans that cost under $50 and without a contract.

TV: Most people have been able to ditch the cable and stick with a streaming service or two. See which streaming services you can get away with and maybe even ask a family member to share an account and save big.


Focus on Earning More

Next, consider the ways you can earn more money each month to make ends meet. Even if you get some relief with fixing your finances, it doesn’t hurt to pursue more money. Many people are able to work a full-time job and then add on a freelance side business, part-time job, or flex-job like working for a rideshare company. You can also approach your employer for a raise or consider applying for a new job that offers better pay. Keep in mind, you never want to leave a job without a new job waiting for you.


Build Financial Systems

It is important that after following all these steps that you build financial systems that keep you on the up and up, even when life gets you down. This means creating things like a savings account, an emergency fund, and a working budget that keeps you in line month after month.

It is highly recommended that an emergency fund is set in place. This fund should be available to you only when a true emergency finds you. For example, you lose a job or you have a medical emergency. These are instances where you can dip into your emergency fund and then replenish it as soon as possible.

Do not be overwhelmed or intimidated by an emergency fund. You can always start small and build it in a short amount of time. At this point, something is always better than nothing. 

Final Thoughts

Hard times have found many Americans this year and making ends meet can be a tough struggle. The truth is, you have the power to change your situation and end the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. This could mean making a few sacrifices and working longer hours, but it could all be temporary when done correctly.