Are you struggling to make ends meet?
Getting your finances back on track can be a lonely and frightening journey. I’ll share my approach when working with clients in this situation.
Judgment is not part of the conversation. Instead, I remove emotion and focus on the numbers. If you’re living beyond your means for whatever reason, you must make choices to either:
- earn more income
- reduce living expenses.
While you may not like the choices, it’s better that you control them, rather than have decisions imposed on you by outside forces. So, one goal is to remain in control of your situation while you get back on track.
Approach this process with an open mind. For example, consider any of the following:
- Can you get a second job? Do you have a skill that is in demand and well-suited for part-time work?
- Can you earn more money in your present field? Would you increase your income if you worked elsewhere? Should you see what is available in the job market now?
- Can you join the gig economy? Uber, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb offer ways to generate additional income with flexible scheduling.
- Can you reduce your rent by getting a roommate, moving to a less desirable neighborhood, or a smaller space?
- Do you need to commute by car? If so, could you carpool with someone and share driving expenses? If you’re married, can you reduce from two cars to one?
- Where is most of your money going each month? Focus on those categories and look for ways to save.
- Can you re-finance student loans into a longer term to reduce the short-term pressure? Are you eligible for an income-dependent repayment plan?
- Do you spend too much money in social situations? Can you create strategies to tame the peer pressure to spend?
- Is your spending on a credit card? Should you switch to debit only?
This is an on-going process but with consistent and sustainable behavioral changes, you will get your finances back on track.