During my first year of college, I had two majors, and taking an extra job on top was virtually impossible. My college town had about 40000 students and most seniors had trusted the rare jobs available, so when I arrived unprepared in September, I knew I had to rely only on my scholarship for that year’s income.
It was a grand total of $400, with $150 for campus accommodation, including bills, and the tuition was free, fortunately. Leaving me with $250 per month to buy books, eat, dress and the occasional night out. I was lucky to meet other very resourceful students and we didn’t feel deprived, but what if an emergency had struck? What if there is simply not enough money to make ends meet?
I am a very proud person, too much in fact, and asking my parents for help would have been a last resort. Before you end up pawning your stuff or getting a payday loan, there are a few actions you can take.
Can you make more money?
Easier said than done, I admit, but are you sure you have explored all the possibilities? You could
Pick up extra shifts at work
Babysit your neighbors
Find freelance work or Taskrabbit assignments
Sell some stuff you don’t use on Ebay or Craigslist
Market your talent, playing music in the streets or selling your crafts on Etsy
Fix computers or appliances for people around you
- Sell your old phones for money
Sell your blood
Can you negotiate your bills?
I wrote a post about that recently, most utilities and credit card companies will agree to postpone your payments on the short term, leaving more money for food and bare necessities.
Can you get free stuff?
As I said before, I am the last one to ask for help, but there are non profits that give free meals, free or heavily discounted groceries, even a free shelter for the night. On websites like freecycle you can ask people to donate items they have no use for, and get clothes, household items, even furniture, slashing your budget some more.
With a little help from a social worker, you could even get free healthcare access or a pro bono lawyer to help you see through your creditors obligations.
Can you do without?
Go over your monthly expenses. In such a desperate situation, you don’t need a gym membership, a cable subscription or any other luxuries. Cancel those services until you are back on your feet.
If your money emergency is that an appliance broke, try to live without for a few months. Jason lived without a washing machine for months and did just fine.
Can you DIY?
Your car broke down and the mechanic quoted you an arm and a leg. Go online, watch some tutorials, get the parts yourself and try to fix it. The same applies for broken things around the house.
Can you reduce?
If your mortgage is killing you slowly, can you refinance, or move to a cheaper, smaller location? Edward lives in a mobile home while he pays off debt, and has much more room in his budget than with a bigger mortgage.
Can you charge it?
Credit is never a good option but you could charge food on your credit card and pay it next month if you know your money problems are temporary. Or resort to a short term loan. Remember those come with heavy interest, and if you are sure to be able to reimburse, asking a friend or family member can be easier and cheaper.
Being in a situation where there isn’t enough money is very hard and challenging. But you can find options to avoid getting deeper into debt.
Now on to the giveaway! This time again, you can win $100 cash through Paypal or Amazon gift card, your choice! All you have to do is like my FB page for an easy entry. Check out the other participants to win more entries. Good luck!
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