When Money Is Tight, What Do You Do?
Ways to Get Debt Free That Worked For Me
I’ve posted before about how we’ve been debt free for the majority of our marriage, except for student loans in the beginning, which I paid off by selling preowned high end designer clothing while I had two children under 16 months old.
But maintaining being debt free, especially in an expensive area like southern California, means there have been tight times too, as they say, times of plenty and times of famine. A number of years ago, when I was new to the community we currently live in, I was a part of a number of beautiful mom’s groups. One hosted brunches once a month. Each person was supposed to bring a dish to share, and I didn’t feel I could afford that. So I ended up not going for a while. That’s okay.
First, I’ll say, in general, your friends don’t mind if you can’t bring something; show up any way. But there are times where you aren’t certain if that’s acceptable or not (and too new to feel comfortable asking), and denying yourself that pleasure for a time can be okay.
When times get financially tight, what has helped sustain you?
Making Money by Selling
I’ve heard of people selling online, selling endlessly the stuff you have in closets, the attic and your garage. As Dave Ramsey says, “Sell so much that your kids think they’re next.”
Other Simple But Profitable Ways to Make Money
Walking the neighbor’s dogs, house sitting, working for Rev, babysitting others’ children, driving for Uber or Lyft, teaching online for businesses like VIPkid, selling on platforms like Poshmark and Mercari, etc.
Reigning in the Bills
What are bills that you can reassess in your budget that can get nixed while money is especially tight?
Cable, even Hulu and Netflix. Renting movies and TV episodes can be rented from the library.
Check what apps you’re paying for – renting music from the library or doing free versions of music apps can save you on the costs of subscriptions to Pandora, YouTube and Spotify.
Check your car and home insurance; compare prices from other companies. One option that helped me a lot was paying insurance by the number of miles I drive my car vs. a flat fee.
Check to see if you need the amount of data you’re paying for with your cell phone plan.
Contact your utilities companies and be sure you’re on the best plan for your family (for us, we found Time of Use plan was best). If you’re a California resident, click here for specific savings on your utilities.
During this season of life, does your child need a themed birthday party? Or would they be just as happy with a couple friends over for pizza and play time – save your time, energy, cost of decorations and fancy themed foods.
Do you have passes to parks and attractions that you could save money by not renewing? Can you rent some fun museum passes from your public library instead? We do and love it.
Can you combine driving trips when erranding? Gas prices are going up (click here for many ways to save on cars), and combining trips can really save money. By focusing on this, I expanded the time between fill ups for my van from once per week to on average once every two weeks.
Not Breaking the Bank on Gifts
When you want to buy news toys or entertainment for your kids, instead of turning immediately to Amazon or Target, have you checked your local Facebook resale group or your local thrift store. Thrift stores can be a great option to save the money in your wallet, also they are a greener option as they are about reusing and recycling, and the money they make often goes to a great cause, like one local store near us supports foster families. (Here are ways to save money on Christmas buying too!) All four of my kids receive pre-owned gifts for their birthdays and Christmas, and they’ve always been happy with what they’ve received. Don’t be afraid; this can save you huge and your kids can still be thrilled.
An expense we had that I hadn’t noticed too much was the cost of dry cleaning – I’ve learned a lot on the internet about laundering clothes better and also making the effort to press clothes myself at home.
Sewing is something I don’t know how to do, but I’ve found ways of absorbing that cost by having my husband purchase the pants he’d otherwise buy at a store where tailoring is included in the price. My personal preference is Nordstrom Rack for this.
Also, the less belongings you have, the easier it is to keep it straightened, tidy and organized. I’ve got a ways to go on the purging project, but already, I’m seeing how much easier it is to maintain. Nix the housecleaner when you’ve sold and donated a lot of your excess.
Saving up for the things you wish to buy so you can pay cash or pay with credit card (only if you’re certain of your ability to pay that card off in full each month) is a way to be sure you’re not overspending. If you can’t pay cash or you won’t be able to pay the bill for it when the credit card statement comes, try not to buy it! Your future self will thank you!
What are ways that you’ve found that have helped you most when money is tight? Share in the comments? Would love to hear what’s worked well for you.