Tuesday, January 19, 2016

nine great things to do when youre broke.

when i say that were broke, i dont mean it in the way that people tend to mean it (as in, that we made plenty of money but we spent it all so we cant buy some expensive thing we want), i mean that were broke. im going to be real here: its january (right when the slowest part of the year for jamess work starts), the spring semester is about to start (meaning, $$$ for childcare and supplies), we just came out of one of jamess work years at work ever (despite the fact that he makes over twice as much per hour as he did when he started), AND instead of using our tax refund to pay off our credit card and start saving for a house.... we need to shop for a new car. this is not a great time to be our bank account. but thats not the point of todays post. 

my point today is, that sometimes the money situation just sucks. it happens to the best of us (some of us more than others), and its not entirely under our control. but it doesnt have to be the end of the world. in fact, these times can be incredibly productive, and (dare i say it...) enjoyable(?), if you know how to spend them wisely. 

since ive got lots of esperience in this department, here are a few handy suggestions of ways to make the most of the broke times:

take a long, hard look at your bank statements. 
its easy to lose track of your money (especially if you never use cash), and its really helpful to take the time to take a serious look at exactly where your money is going and decide if youre happy with that. 

make a list of your hopes, dreams, and priorities (short term and long term).
even though it seems like an impractical or unrealistic thing to do, figuring out exactly the kind of life you want is a great thing to do when youre broke, so that you can start figuring out how to take steps to make that happen when you arent quite so broke anymore. 

look for expenses to drop. 
once you have a good idea of where youre money is going and whats really important to you, look really closely and see where you can cut back: first to help out in the short term until the money situation gets better, but also to help in the long term to free up money for the things you really want in life. 

break bad habits. 
maybe you have some habits that arent so great. maybe you buy lunch every day because you dont want to make it ahead of time, maybe you binge on netflix to avoid doing real work, maybe you go to starbucks twice a day. and maybe these habits are also costing you a lot of money. using the money as a motivation to break these habits can be a great way to kick them for good. 

decluttering is a great thing to do when youre broke for three reasons: 1. its totally free, 2. youll probably find some stuff worth selling (see my post about doing exactly that), and 3. theres nothing like confronting all the stuff you own (and spent money on) that you dont like/use to really change your perspective on spending. 

look for potential side hustles. 
obviously if moneys tight, it doesnt hurt (at all) to look into ways to make some more. maybe an actual second job is out of the question (like it is for james), but it doesnt take much research (ahem, pinterest) to find hundreds of ideas to try and get to the one thats right for you. 

go outside. 
not only is outside 100% totally free, but spending time out in nature is a perfect way to take a break and just think about things that arent money. 

use things up.  
one of my favorite things to do when moneys tight is to challenge myself to see how long we can go without buying anything: using up all the leftover bits of toiletries and cleaning products that accumulate and getting creative with recipes to use up as much groceries as possible. its a fun little game and a nice double whammy of saving a little money and also clearing out a little clutter. 

be thankful for what you have. 
seriously. money problems are stupid and they suck and its so, so easy to get stuck in a mopey black hole of self-pity but really, there are so many things to be thankful for. taking a few minutes to focus on those things can make things a lot easier. 

im not saying hard times have to be fun, but what i am saying is that they dont have to be all bad. 

what do you do to get through tough financial times? 

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