If you have ever been wide awake at 3 a.m., worrying about how you will pay your mortgage, buy shoes for the kids, new tires for the car and/or cover your sweetie’s birthday present, you know first-hand how miserably stressful financial woes can be.
Here’s two key pieces of great news: one, you can definitely improve your financial situation, and two, it does not require some massively huge change like taking on two extra jobs or selling your car or maybe a kidney. By incorporating a number of seemingly small decisions into your everyday life, you will soon be on the path to better financial health—and a better night’s sleep.
Apply for a Cash Back Credit Card
When you are trying to add more cash into your skinny checking account, it’s hard to beat free money. If you are highly disciplined about paying off credit card bills as you go and have a solid credit score, apply for at least one card that rewards you with cash back, and then pay all of your bills with the card. Some cards, like the Chase Unlimited Freedom Card, pay 1.5% back on every purchase, and for new card members Chase will give you a $150 bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the account. While 1.5% might not seem like a lot, if you put $3,000 worth of bills, groceries, clothes and shoes and other expenses on the card each month, you will automatically get $45 back a month, or $540 for the year—simply for using the card. Just be sure to pay off the balance each month so you don’t accrue any interest.
Look Into a Side Hustle
Again, you do not have to take on a second full time job to get out of your financial difficulties. Instead, look for opportunities to take on a little side work each week or month. For example, if you love to drive and don’t mind strangers in your back seat, you could always work for a ride service like Lyft or Uber and put in a few hours every week either early in the morning or late at night. You could also make money online with a company like Amway; for decades, Amway has helped people just like you to bring in some extra cash, all on their own schedules. If this sounds appealing to you, check out this YouTube video; it explains what Amway is, how the company works and how working as an Independent Business Owner can help you to get out of financial stress.
Go Cherry Picking at the Grocery Store
Depending on how many people are in your family, groceries can take up a huge chunk of money each month. To save money on food, try shopping the sales at your local grocery stores each week. Sit down with the sale ads and see which supermarkets have the best prices on staples like cereal, condiments, pasta and other items you use the most, and then plan your meals as much as you can around what is on sale. Also, since many grocery stores have a 6-week cycle for their sales—in other words, if your fave mayo is at a super cheap price this week, you won’t see that price again for another month and a half—strive to buy a 6-week supply of those items so you won’t have to pay full price anymore for as many foods as possible. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much money you can save with these tips, and how much will be left in your bank account at the end of the month.
Remember, Small and Steady Wins the Race
Not having enough money to pay the bills is extremely stressful. It is reassuring to know that you don’t have to live this way forever, and that getting out of this situation involves a number of relatively easy and painless steps instead of taking drastic action. By switching to a rewards card and paying it off each month, looking into a side hustle and carefully shopping the sales at the store, you will be well on your way to improving your financial lifestyle in a matter of weeks.