Whoever first said “more money, more problems,” has obviously never felt what it’s like to be broke. In fact, it’s a feeling experienced by much of the American population despite it being nearly a decade since the end of the Great Recession. Even so, rather than collectively sigh over our financial woes, it’s more useful to conceive solutions. That said, here a few undoubtedly nerve-wracking money problems and how to navigate them in a way that could relieve financial stress.
You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck
You’re not alone — in 2013, more than three quarters of the American population reported living paycheck to paycheck, for a number of reasons. While knowing that many others are going through the same financial woes isn’t exactly comforting, the solution to the crisis lies in self-budgeting. The next time you receive a paycheck, the first person that should get paid is you. Set aside as much as is feasible for you with each paycheck and those pennies will start to add up in a major way.
You Have No Savings
…Probably because you’re living paycheck to paycheck. To reiterate, every little bit you put away counts, so that should you become faced with an emergency (like, say unemployment or a medical problem) you have something to fall back on during tough times. While you should never stop saving, your emergency fund should, at the very least, be six months’ worth of living expenses — for things like gas, rent, and other bills. It’s also crucial that you remain disciplined and don’t dip into your emergency fund unless there’s, well, an emergency!
You’re Living Beyond Your Means
If you’re struggling, you may want to consider cutting back on certain luxuries that aren’t always essential. This doesn’t just stop at cable television or your magazine subscriptions, however; it also means not ordering take-out every other night, or waking up a little earlier to avoid having to take that uber to work. It means cooking for yourself whenever possible, catching that 8:45 a.m. train, and living by a strict budget.
The Cost of Living in Your Area is Too High
Moving is certainly a costly expense, but over time, you may be spending even more money making a life for yourself in an area where the cost of living is just too high (we’re looking at you, NYC). You may want to consider apartment hunting in regions where the cost of living is much lower, and pursuing job opportunities in these areas as well. That is, after you’ve saved up enough for the move, of course.