What to do if your budget is so tight you can barely pay your rent and utilities? Nobody likes living on a shoestring budget, and I don’t recommend it long term at all. But let’s say for a short period you know things will be tight for some reason and you need a plan how to cope. First of all, do not skip rent because that will complicate your life! If you get paid bi-weekly, purchase a money order for each half of rent, so you are covered. It forces you to budget on what’s left, but at least you will have a roof over your head. Many landlords do not give you much time to catch up on rent and if they file an eviction, there are added fees or you could find yourself homeless. If you are behind on rent already, there may be some community resources such as Salvation Army or a local Community Action Agency that could help. There are strict qualifications however and they may only help if you have been served with an eviction notice. I do NOT recommend trying to get to that point however, as it could backfire. Many times agencies run out of money or change programs so don’t rely on them. You can google “need help with bills and put into your county and state”.
Next, try to pay utilities in full if possible. Rent and utilities are your most important bills that should be met first. If you are unable to, at least make a partial payment and try to work out an arrangement. If bills are running higher because of cold temperatures and you know they will go down once the weather is warmer, ask for a shut off protection or other low income program they may offer. Next in importance is food, gas and car insurance, if you have a vehicle. It may be tempting to pay on credit cards and then use them for food and gas; however building debt to bridge a low income is just digging the hole deeper. Instead, work on increasing your income or reducing your expenses. You may be in school and income is tight until you graduate. Could you babysit, clean for someone or sell some clothes you no longer wear? Consider being a roommate to reduce your housing expenses or cancelling cable and internet temporarily and using the library, until your income has increased. Some other tips I recommend is carrying cash to the grocery store because it will keep you on budget, or purchasing a gas card when you get paid, so your gasoline budget is taken care of. It will help avoid overspending and then being able to put gas in your car.
Also remember to strengthen your mindset around money. Do you feel it is your destiny in life to struggle financially? It is most definitely not. You are meant to be an abundant, prosperous being! God, the Universe, whatever you resonate with most wants you to be taken care of, not beat down and defeated. Start writing down your goals, financial and otherwise. Journal around what makes you fearful or feeling unworthy and then rip up that page. You are fine to acknowledge it briefly but then move on and focus on the positives- how does it make you feel, what would it look like, feel like, smell like, sound like, etc.? Create a vision board, positive affirmations (try saying them to yourself in a mirror) and be thankful for everything small and large. Watch opportunities find you!
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Lots of love,
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