Right now, your girl is very low on cash flow and money. It's not fun. I know that I am not alone in this. One of the number one things that cause a person to stress in this lifetime is money. Life shouldn't be that way but it is, unfortunately. It's harder to catch up once you fall into the rabbit hole of debt.
Being afraid to look at your bank account is a very real thing. I feel this way all the time. Most people, like me, live paycheck to paycheck. The important thing to realize is that you are not alone. It's hard to when you feel a panic-induced panic attack coming on due to your money issues! Lately, at the beginning of each month when my new bill statements come in these panic attacks have become all too real to me. Don't even get me started on my credit card limit over it's maxed limit. My credit card doesn't even work anymore. Which could actually be a good thing? Considering, I don't rack up any more debt.
Not to mention the medical debt I have acquired the last couple of years. Why does medical care in the USA have to cost so much money? I don't even know what is in collections anymore... It's sad but true. Plus, the $10,000 some dollars that I have in student loans that are luckily deferred at the moment.... due to low income and not working.
I am currently in the process of waiting to hear about disability going through for me. Mental illness and disability are a very real thing. I have nothing to be ashamed of and decided long ago that I would be completely transparent on my blog. If I can help someone else to not feel alone. Then at the end of the day, blogging/sharing is worth it to me. My medical bills tend to rack up every single month due to doctor galore lifestyle. This girl is also a diabetic. Medications are not cheap! Testing strips especially! I make the most of what God has dealt me in this lifetime.
Life is hard for a single girl in her 20s with no degree.
How do you get out of debt? I am learning at the same time you are to this very question. I am on a get out of debit mission slowly but surely. It takes time to get out of debt. Just like it took time to get into however much debt you are in.
Here are some steps you can take:
1. Stop using your credit card.Credit cards incur interest. I have found that in the long run, this does more harm than good. If you are in credit card debt the first thing you should do is stop using that card. You don't need any more debt on the card.
2. Make larger payments on your credit card billTo lower your interest on your account each month on your credit card bills... try and make larger payment amounts when you can. This helps to lower your monthly bill statements or payment amounts. In the end, you will end up saving more money and not incur as much interest/more debt. Paying more than the minimum balance helps your credit and your accounts balance to go down in how much you owe. A few extra dollars can make a huge difference when interest is involved.
3. Make a list of what you oweIt's hard to realize how much money you have going out each month. Making a list of the priority bills and debts you have will help to keep you more organized. That way you can keep track of what you owe and to who. Next, to each debt, it's good to put the monthly interest % or rate next to the amount owed on the list. I am very visual and most people are. This will help your brain grasp your financial situation better.
4. Tackle the highest interest rate debts firstTo owe the least amount of money possible, pay off those debts that have the highest interest rates first! Tackle each debt in the order of highest to least high. Make extra payments/higher than your minimum payment on the highest rates if you can. At least do the minimum monthly payments.
5. Extra cash, birthday money, gift money put towards debtsEven if you find a couple bucks hidden in your purse or under the couch. Don't forget that extra dollar you found in the kitchen drawer. Add all that extra money to your debts. $1 goes a long way when you are broke and in major debt! Use all the extra spare change you have. Never discount a lonely penny either.
6. Use a piggy bank like when you were a little kidAll the change and little pennies I find around my house or purse go into my piggy bank. You will be surprised how much money you will accumulate by the end of the month! I put all my spare change/dollars towards my debts. Cashing out the change at the end of each month. Keep that spare change from the store and other purchases. Don't think twice about not saving your change! Why do you think most places have tip jars? It's because spare change really does add up!
7. Unsubscribe from all store emailsSeeing sales from your favorite stores on your email when you are broke is not fun. Don't give in to the temptation to shop. There have been many times when I see a book sale or clothing sale and I give in even if I don't need anything just because it was a great deal! Retailers know this. So delete those emails from those tempting stores. Don't look at stuff that you could buy. Stay clear of Amazon and those auto-buy sites. The age of internet buying can be dangerous!
8. Cut out buying coffee, drinks, and food out.Eating out is expensive period. Especially $6 coffee at Starbucks! It's expensive and you will be surprised how much you save from not buying these things and making coffee at home. (AS I HAVE A STARBUCKS IN MY HANDS WRITING THIS) It's okay to treat yourself once in a while. Remember this so you aren't punishing yourself. I find I spend less when I treat myself once in a while so I don't go crazy trying not to spend money. What can I say? I have a rebellious spirit!
9. Don't pay for cable. Limit yourself to one streaming service.Netflix and Hulu are the way to go. You can get cable via Hulu for only $5.99 a month! Not to mention there are way fewer commercials. You can watch all your favorite tv shows from cable tv on the service! In the day and age of streaming, there's no need to have regular cable.
10. Do not have a house phone. Only pay for a cell phone.Why pay for a house phone that goes unused?
11. Thrift all clothes, books, etc.Thrifting and recycling clothes are the way to go! I very rarely buy new clothes. Often, at Goodwill or Savers, I find clothes that are designer with tags on them that were never even worn! It's crazy what people donate and I save tons of money.
12. Limit the times you go out. Like the movies etc.Watch a movie at home. Do more fun things at home. Play a board game etc. Staying home can save you lots of money and sometimes can be just as much fun.
13. Cancel all unused membershipsWho needs to pay for a gym membership when you can walk anywhere? Or do at-home workouts? Youtube has tons of workouts to watch and do at home.
14. Throw out the bottled water and get a reusable water bottle. Invest in a BritaBrita's are amazing! I save so much money by using one for water. Plus, it helps save the environment!
15. Determine NEEDS VS WANTSDo you really need that new purse?
16. Buy all cleaning products etc at the dollar storeI do this every month and save tons of money. Paper products and cleaning solutions are so much cheaper. The dollar store is your best friend when it comes to broke life.
17. Coupon everything. Join every single store or restaurant rewards programSave tons of money this way. Lots of times I get free food in exchange for being on certain restaurants rewards programs or % off my meal. Olive Garden gives you a free dessert on your birthday for example!
18. Buy the generic brand over the name brandIt's always cheaper and usually just as good.
19. Take advantage of your libraryThe library is a beautiful and free resource! It's free entertainment.
20. Meal prep every week and stick to a list while shopping.When you shop with a list, most buy less, and therefore, spend less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to a store. Don't look at anything that you don't need to not be tempted. Only buy what is on your list. This will add up in savings over the year!
Saving money can be hard but there are steps you can take to help you save. Hopefully, after using these tips myself, I can alleviate some of my money issues. First, I need to pay off my credit card debt. No more book buying for awhile... It's a hard sacrifice but it needs to be done.
The library is going to be my best friend. No more book sales either for awhile! The good thing is knowing that I am not alone in these troubles. What do you do to save money? How have you gotten through hard money troubles? I need all the help that I can get.