It’s that time of the month again, a few days until you get paid, and you’re already running out of money–or worse, you’ve already run out. If this is a situation that you’re all too familiar with, then you may be spending beyond your means.
Spending more than you make is an easy way to get into debt fast. Running out of money consistently is usually the first symptom. Hence, living paycheck to paycheck when you are financially capable is not something you should get used to, no matter how long you’ve spent with this kind of lifestyle.
If you want to get out of this unhealthy cycle and reduce your risk of getting into bad debt, here’s what you can do to stop running out of money every month.
1. Be careful with debt
Freeze your credit card in a block of ice. Remove your bank info on online shopping sites. Don’t take out a loan that you are not ready for. One of the most common reasons for consistent cash shortage is not being responsible when it comes to debt. When you treat credit cards like free money or take out loans that you don’t really need, you are essentially decreasing the portion of your income that is not bound to bills–hence the constant struggle for money at the end of the month.
If you must use your credit card, do so only when you have the cash to pay for the item. If you can’t afford it in cash, you can’t afford it, period. Similarly, if you must take out a personal loan, be sure to choose a lender that can offer you the lowest interest and the best repayment plan.
2. Cut the unnecessary expenses
Sometimes, we have a skewed idea of what is ‘necessary’ to our daily lives. That takeout you get every night or the bar trip you take with your friends every weekend may seem like a ‘need’, but it really isn’t. You have ingrained it into your routine so much that it seems essential to your happiness. However, the little indulgences that you allow yourself to have are likely the reasons for your perpetual financial problem.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while; it is truly essential to one’s well-being, but indulging yourself should not mean that you’re going broke in the future. Spend on your ‘wants’ only when you have the disposable income for it.
3. Increase your income
If you are spending beyond your means and it’s not because of your daily run to the coffee shop, the best way to avoid going broke consistently is to increase your ‘means’. Increasing your income can be done in many ways. The best option is to ask for a raise from your employer, but of course, this is not always possible. Here are other options you can consider:
Get a part-time job. Whether it’s driving for Uber, delivering food, or bagging groceries, a part-time job is one of the best ways to line your pockets with extra income.
Freelance. Graphic design, writing, web design, photography, and other freelance-type work are great sources of extra cash. Sign up on freelancer websites to start your side gig, or offer your services on your own platform. Not only are you making more money, but you’re also building your skills and experience in the process.
Start a small business. Whether it’s selling homemade pastries or offering your handyman services, a small business can put extra money in your pocket and can even have the potential to grow in the future.
4. Practice delayed gratification
When you see something that you want to buy, do you wait a few days before buying it or just buy it immediately with little to no thought to the financial consequence of your purchase? If it’s the latter, then you may need to practice delayed gratification more in your financial decisions.
Here’s a good strategy: whenever you want to buy something, especially if it’s out of your budget, wait at least three days before actually buying it. By then, the feeling of want may have passed and you no longer desire that item. In doing so, you are making a more conscious and perhaps more responsible decision when you decide to buy that item, which will help you avoid shortages in cash.
Constantly running out of money before payday is usually the first sign of even bigger financial problems down the road. While you still can, correct the bad habits that are causing this perpetual shortage in cash in order to give yourself a more secure financial future.