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Saving money is hard. It’s so much easier to get paid every week, treat yourself to lunch and a fun night out with friends, and then wonder where all your money went come Monday. But if you really want to know how to stop being broke, you’re gonna have to make some changes to your routine.
Frugality is not sexy or easy, and it doesn’t come naturally to many people. Spending money is fun! And when you have a taste for the finer things in life, trying to find good deals is not really on your radar.
Eventually though, all that spending catches up to you.
How to Stop Being Broke
1. Decide You’re Sick of Feeling This Way
The only thing that’s really going to lead to lasting change is getting sick enough of feeling stressed out all the time over money. If you’re reading this article, I’d say it’s safe to assume you’re getting pretty darn sick of it!
Hold on to that feeling. Remember it even when you get paid and have some money in your account. Get sick of living with the stress of being broke all the time.
2. Figure Out if You Have a Spending or an Income Problem
A lot of people assume they’re broke because they don’t make enough money, but it might not be that at all.
Take a look at your income. Add up how much your paychecks come to each month. Then take a look at your bills you have to pay. How much money do you have leftover each month after those bills? You may be surprised at the number.
If you have a spending problem..
But WHY do I never have any money then?? You’re probably asking yourself that question. If this is the case, you have a spending problem not an income problem. You make plenty of money to cover your bills and have enough leftover, but you’re spending all your extra money on things that don’t matter.
It’s time to face the fact that you’ve got to start saving some money. I know it’s hard when you’re naturally a spender. Shopping can feel like a great way to have fun and relieve stress, but it can do way more harm than good if it’s killing your bank account every month.
Keep reading to cut back spending and get on budget.
If you have an income problem..
On the other hand, if you make just enough to cover all your bills with barely anything leftover (or you’re in the red each month) then it’s clear you have an income problem.
This one may not seem as easy to fix, but it’s easier than ever to make money on the side. Read my post 4 Steps to Start a Side Hustle if you’re interested in doing your own thing on the side. Otherwise, it’s probably time to start researching a better job opportunity!
3. Start Cutting Back
I know, this one is probably the least favorite tip here. But regardless which problem you have (spending or income), you can probably find ways to cut back on your bills and spending.
This is especially true if you’ve got a spending problem. Think about how much money you blow on eating out (if you don’t know, I highly recommend you go do the highlighter budgeting exercise.)
For a lot of us who work outside the home, it’s so easy to go grab lunch at a restaurant every day. This can easily average out to about $50 a week. Add a few dinners out throughout the week and you could be easily blowing $500 a month on eating out!
Food is probably the largest expense most people can cut back on, but don’t stop there. Think about your bills too, by taking a few hours to shop around for new insurance, negotiate better interest rates, etc. you can save a ton of money each month.
4. Bring in More Money
This step will be especially helpful if you have an income problem, but it applies to everybody. The more money you bring in each month, the more you can use to pay down debt, save, or put towards your goals. And the bigger the buffer you have in your checking account, the less stress you should feel each time you check your online banking.
If you want to know how to stop being broke, making more money is one of the easiest ways to do that. Not that making money is just “easy.” It can involve everything from going back to school for a total career switch to moving across country for a better job.
But it doesn’t have to be that extreme. You can find smaller opportunities to bring in more money such as offering to work overtime or picking up a part-time job at one of your favorite retail stores (hello discount!)
5. Start Budgeting and Watching Your Expenses Each Month
Budgeting. I know. It can be less appealing than going to the dentist or getting your taxes done.
But it doesn’t have to have such a bad wrap. Budgeting has come so far since our parent’s day, and thanks to technology, you can do it right from your phone if you like. There are so many great budgeting apps such as Every Dollar, You Need a Budget, and Mint. Take a look and decide which one looks the most appealing to you.
Alongside making a budget each month, you should be tracking your expenses as you go to make sure you’re actually staying on budget. This is another way technology excels in helping us manage our money! In most budgeting apps you can add expenses every time you spend money to your budget categories so you can see how much you’ve got left in each one.
6. Set Goals to Keep Yourself Motivated
If you’re ready to stop being broke for good, you can’t just follow these steps for a month or two then go back to your old money ways. The easiest way to make this a lasting lifestyle change is to set goals for yourself, and keep setting new ones when you achieve them!
The first goal I’d suggest you start with is to get some money built up in your savings account. $1,000 is a great number to shoot for if you’re starting from 0. Here’s how to save $1,000 fast.
Once you hit your first money goal, keep going with something even bigger. Got a balance on your credit cards? Make your next goal to pay the smallest one off! Keep brainstorming with money goals that get you excited.
It’s possible to stop being broke.
It will take some effort and intentionality, but you don’t have to stay broke and stressed about money forever. Start today by following each of the steps above, from deciding to get sick of being broke to setting money goals to keep yourself motivated.