Money is an eternal concern for most people, but it’s especially pressing now. With a cost of living crisis descending in several places around the world owing to current events, many people are looking for ways to save money or make better use of their money. The good news is that there’s almost always a way to streamline your spending so that you have a little more left over each month, and when money is as tight as it is right now for many, just a little extra could make all the difference. Here are 8 of our best tips for surviving when money is tight.
1. Take out loans to help with short-term costs
It might not seem like an immediately obvious option to take out a loan when money is tight, but it could help you in several ways. First, there’s the obvious benefit that you’ll have a short-term cash injection that can help you to survive if things aren’t going your way. However, if you’re able to make long-term payments as well, a loan could improve your credit score and help you get further loans or financial help in the future. There are lots of online loans you can apply for, so make sure to take a look if you think you need assistance.
2. Create a strict budget for your household
No matter how many people are in your household, it’s always beneficial and essential to create a budget for yourself. This means understanding your finances thoroughly; you should know how much you make each month (as well as how much everyone else in the household is bringing in) and how much you’re spending. When you have this information, allocate a certain amount each month to areas of spending like food, bills, and rent. That’s your budget, and it’s essential to be strict about sticking to that budget.
3. Cut back on extras
While it may feel like the coffee you grab each morning from the coffee shop on your way to work is essential, the truth is that you could make a change that wouldn’t result in going without but would be much cheaper for you. For example, why not make yourself some coffee in a thermos before you leave for work, then take that with you instead? You’d be amazed at just how much this can save for you, and you’re not even sacrificing that all-important hit of caffeine. You could likely make many little changes like this throughout your life.
4. Make small energy-saving changes
One of the biggest factors in the cost of living crisis right now is the price of your energy bill, which is set to skyrocket again this year. You can always try to make smaller energy-saving changes that result in lower bills, however. When you’re leaving a room, turn off lights or other appliances you’re not using. Don’t use standby modes for items like game consoles; they use more power that way than they would if you simply switched them on and off each time you’re done with them. These are just a few examples of energy-saving changes that will help you survive when money is tight.
5. Try cycling or walking more
If you’re able to, then you can save a lot of money by cycling or walking more instead of using your car or even using public transport. Driving and hopping on buses or trains cost money, so if you’re looking to save, walking or cycling makes a lot of sense. While the initial cost of a bike might seem quite high, the amount you’ll subsequently save on bus or train fares (or petrol if you’re a car owner) is worth it. This also has the added benefit of boosting your physical and mental health, so there is no drawback to making this decision.
6. Use a finance app
Your smartphone can be a financial manager and all the other things it can do. There are many great financial apps out there that will keep track of your spending, show you suggestions to help you cut back, and generally act as a financial planner for you. Great examples include Emma, You Need A Budget, and Mint, but there will be plenty more depending on where you are and what kind of financial help you want. Spend a few minutes browsing through your phone for financial apps, and you’d be amazed at what you’ll find.
7. Cancel your subscriptions
If you’re using the subscriptions you’ve signed up for on a day-to-day basis, then naturally, it’s not a good idea to cancel them. However, given just how many companies make money from subscriptions that people have forgotten to cancel, it’s a good idea to comb your bank accounts for 30-day free trials that have ticked over to a first payment or subscriptions you no longer use and to cancel them wherever you see excess spending. You might be surprised by how many subscriptions you still have that you’re no longer using.
8. Pick up a side hustle
You might not have the time or inclination to pick up a side hustle, and that’s fine; we shouldn’t be working ourselves to death just for the chance to survive. If, however, you have a bit of extra time and don’t mind spending it working at something else, you might want to think about a side hustle. Ideal options include tutoring, blogging, or anything else you can do from the comfort of your own home. Just make sure to parcel out enough time to spend just doing nothing or relaxing, because you could burn yourself out otherwise.