Frugality for When Things Go Wrong
It can be a horrible moment when the bottom falls out of your finances, and even worse when you don't feel equipped to deal with picking up the pieces. When things go wrong, it can be very difficult indeed to keep a calm head and make plans to sort it out quickly and efficiently. In most cases, you'll either need to cut back on spending considerably, or try to up your income somehow. Both of these take time to implement, and a good plan which has both flexibility and longevity is extremely important.
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Go Back to Basics
Take your budget right back to the bare bones. Gather up all the information you have about the state of your finances, like wage slips, bank statements and bills so that you've got the facts. It may take some time, and it could be incredibly frustrating, but try to paint as detailed a picture of your income and expenditure as you can. Find out how much you owe, and to whom. As soon as you've managed to make as much sense of your situation as possible, write out a new budget. Keep your essentials as basic as you can and note down areas where you may be able to save (utility bills, food costs etc.). Now compare this new budget to your old one to see where you can cut back. If you don't use your gym membership then cancel it you may have other non-essential direct debits that you can cancel too.
While you're applying a bit of damage control and working out where you stand, you should try and keep all non-essential spending to a minimum. Think about a typical day in your life where do you go? What do you do? Do you use your card to pay for things and then forget that you've used it? Do you buy a coffee every day on the way to work? Try to pinpoint where you're essentially wasting money and take urgent steps to stop doing these things while you get back on your feet.
Raise Some Cash
One of the easiest ways to raise a bit of emergency cash is to sell some things that you no longer need or want. Local selling sites like Gumtree or auction sites like eBay could allow you to get rid of some clutter and make some extra cash at the same time. Think about whether you can make any money on the side on a longer-term basis. Could you take in a lodger or sell your skills somehow?
Keep It Real
Once you've had a week or so to collect your thoughts, go back over your budget again to make sure that you haven't forgotten anything. As time goes by and you regain control of your finances, keep reviewing your budget in order to stay on top of changes in your lifestyle as well as changes in the seasons. Staying on track can be hard, but allowing yourself a small reward once you hit a milestone will be a huge help and a good incentive to keep going.
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Posted in Financial Services Post Date 11/07/2016