Although some in the United States have been lucky enough to keep their bank accounts intact for the past eight months, there is no doubt that many of us have fought financially this year. Many have lost their jobs, been forced to temporarily move in with relatives or just discovered that they did not really succeed. While the end of the pandemic (or at least the worst) seems to be in sight, many of us will still struggle with the economic downturn for some time. Here are some ways you can work to stay within your budget while your money is still tight.
Put things in perspective …
If you have food to eat and a roof over your head, you will do better than many other people. Without minimizing the real struggle that you and your family may have, this way of thinking can help you realize what you have instead of worrying about what you do not have. It is important to acknowledge that these are really difficult times, but also to look for the good things.
Scale back spending …
Although politicians want us to spend money to boost the economy, right now is not the time for extravagant purchases. There are many ways to reduce expenses, so choose the one that seems most feasible and does not make you feel that you are sacrificing so much that it is not sustainable. Here are some ideas:
- Buy generic brands instead of branded ones.
- Cooking at home instead of eating out.
- Shop or borrow items you need but can not afford to buy right now.
- Buy clothes and other household items in the convenience store.
- Use the library or a free online loan service.
- Temporarily cancel one or more of your online subscriptions.
- Hack your food budget by getting back to basics like beans, rice, vegetables and preserves and avoiding overpackaged and processed foods as much as possible.
Planning to save …
It may sound ridiculous to focus on saving during such a difficult time. But if you can make it work, you will even save a small amount of your morale and give yourself a better position for the future. Undertake to save a little from each paycheck and do not touch it unless it is an absolute emergency.
Looking to the future …
When it comes to spending money right now is a great time to postpone. But instead of saying "no" to everything, try saying "not right now." Start a wish list of things you want to do or buy when your budget is in better shape. Thinking about what is in front of you helps you to be optimistic about the future and can make it easier to say no to some things at the moment. And who knows? Maybe when your financial situation improves, you will find that you no longer want these things or do not even need them in the first place.
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