No one sets out to become broke. A loan here, a bad investment there, and a couple hundred swipes of the credit card later—we’re busted, and we have no idea how we landed in this state.
You don’t have to be living out of your car to be broke.
Broke is living paycheck to paycheck with no savings intact. Broke is being in debt up to your eyeballs. Broke is buying a brand-new $30,000 car because you can “afford” the monthly payments but not having enough in your bank account to cover a $1,000 emergency.
The funny thing is, we live in a culture that calls this type of living normal. But we don’t do normal here. We believe in being weird.
Want to break the mold and live like no one else? Here are some action steps you can take to turn the tide.
Live on Less Than You Make
Take a hard look at your take-home pay and outgo each month. Make a monthly zero-based budget and you might be surprised by how much extra dough is slipping through your hands.
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Grab that money and tell it where to go. You might just feel like you’ve given yourself a raise!
Increase Your Income
Look for side jobs you can pick up—dog walking, delivering pizza, freelancing. Or is there overtime available at work you could take on? Maybe it’s even time to get up the guts to ask your boss for a raise.
If you feel like you’ve reached the end of the road in your current field, consider looking at new career paths that may generate more income.
Related: 32 Ways to Make Extra Money
Begin With the End in Mind
Instant gratification will get you into trouble time and time again. If your potential purchase isn’t in the budget, back away slowly. Remember that making minor sacrifices now will pay off in the long run. Know what your end goal is, and then go after it!
Do the Math
A stay-at-home parent could consider going back to work, but look at the potential income versus the expense. Would day care costs rival the income amount of the new job? Be sure to crunch the numbers and see where you land. And don’t forget the things that can’t be seen in monetary value, like health care benefits, company reimbursements/discounts and other perks.
Be proactive! If you aren’t satisfied with your current situation, take a practical step forward. Submit your resume for that ideal job you’ve been dreaming about . Sell the car . Open your eyes to the need for change and then make it happen!
Need help jump-starting your budget? Check out our free budgeting app EveryDollar, and start telling your money where to go.