Your rent is due, you have bills stacking up on the counter, and your bank balance is nowhere near the amount you need to cover costs this week. Being in this kind of situation can make your heart pound, your stress levels rise, and leave you feeling increasingly desperate. Such emotions don’t help anyone make sound decisions. However, there are steps that you can take to work your way through the situation. Here are a few tips that may help:
Avoid High Interest Loans
If you are a low-income earner, it’s easy to get into a cycle of debt that is difficult to escape. High-interest credit cards and “payday” loans may seem like a good idea in the short term, but as the interest payments accumulate, most people end up needing to pay back an excessive amount compared to their original loan. If you do need some extra cash to tide you over in the short term, you can investigate small money loans for low-income earners online. Low interest or no interest short term loans are becoming more common from various community and not-for-profit organizations to combat the problems caused by high-interest lenders.
Go Grocery Shopping in Your Pantry
Most of us have more in the cupboard than we realize. Check for staples like rice, pasta, canned tuna, and flour, and then try to make as many meals as possible for the week using what you have at home. If you already have canned tuna and pasta, a tuna bake with some vegetables could feed the family for several nights for less than $10. Vegetarian fried rice is another low-cost option, and chances are that you already have most of the ingredients you need in your cupboard. This will allow you to direct more money towards the rent and bills that need to be paid.
Ask for a Payment Extension
Most companies will work with you to come up with a payment plan or extension if you give them a call and let them know that you are struggling to make your payment on time. It is far better to ring them straight away and figure out a solution, rather than pushing it to the back of your mind and letting the reminder letters stack up on the kitchen counter. Likewise, your landlord would almost certainly prefer you to call and discuss your situation rather than ignoring it and hoping it will go away. If you are a good tenant, they are likely to be flexible and happy to help.
Put Together a Budget
If you have been living paycheck to paycheck, now is the perfect time to put together a budget and see exactly where your money is going. Even if you are a low-income earner, there are usually ways that you can save money if you look carefully at your spending habits. Consider a money diary or free app that helps you to track your spending, then try to find areas that you could cut costs.
Look at Ways to Earn Extra Cash
To help you get on top of your financial situation, you might need to look at ways that you can earn some additional money. You could offer to do your neighbors ironing or mow their lawns. Maybe you have old furniture, clothes or other household items that you could sell online. In the longer term, consider whether a side hustle like picking up a night shift stacking shelves at your local supermarket or working as a virtual assistant might be worthwhile.
Above all, try not to panic and don’t be too proud to ask for help.