Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out our finances.
I don’t mind telling you, sometimes things get way left or way right and we end up facing some tight times.
We’ve hit a couple of really
bad bumps monstrous mountains over the last six months and our finances have paid the price.
When this happens, I catch myself scouring the internet looking for ways to improve our situation.
Here’s a little Rant
The one type of post (information) I find more often than not are posts that talk about how a family lives on one income.
You know the ones whose title sucks you in by saying things like: How we live on one income; Living on 50% of your income, How to Live on $10 dollars a month, OK that last ones a bit drastic and I’ve never actually seen a post that says that, but you get what I’m saying. right?
SOMETIMES these types of posts have some pretty valuable information BUT I’m finding they rarely help me discover how they actually do it.
Rarely is there disclosure of how much of the income is 50% or what they’re actually living on! For all I know these folks could be making upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not my reality, I can tell you that.
I mean what are these folks making? What is the amount they are actually living on?
I think having that information makes a huge difference in one’s ability to live on a single income. NO, I’m not asking everyone to divulge their most inner secrets about their income and finances, but a ball park figure would certainly draw me in as I would possibly find someone whose income is fairly close to mine.
I guess I need to clarify, I think these posts have really good information, but when you’re struggling to make ends meet on two incomes, it would certainly be helpful to know where someone else started from. Maybe it wouldn’t seem so hopeless then.
Most posts about living on one income talk about things such as: Budgeting, and Using Coupons, ALL GREAT IDEAS I assure you, but (come on, you knew there would be a but 🙂 ) when things are so tight you’re not even sure which way is up, these things are of little help.
Rant Over, Moving On
Why am I saying all of this?
Living on one income is an option for some, struggling on two incomes can be reality. Knowing how to handle
unexpected bumps financial disasters takes a lot of other things besides knowing how to make a budget or shopping with coupons.
Where do you start when you’ve been caught in the UH OH of finances?
First thing I do is Pray! This is a freebie, a bonus as I didn’t count it in the 4 great ideas!! You’re Welcome! To some praying may sound hokey, but for me it’s a great comfort knowing I’m not in this alone. That in ALL things God is working for good! Yes, He’s working even when I can’t tell He’s working or when times are bad. Not always an easy thing to remember when times are tough or not going my way.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26-28 The Message)
Look, I’m not a financial guru. HA! Far from it.BUT, I figure if we can learn together as we go, we’ll all be better off. My ideas aren’t the only ideas and they may work for some, and not for others. You may have ideas that are better than mine, I’d love to hear them! Hey, at this point in the game I’m open to any and all feasible ideas!
Dealing With The Money Stuff
Having said that, I’ve learned there are a few things which ALWAYS take the top dog spot when things are running a muck financially.
Everything else will just have to take a backseat when money is tight or when a financial disaster hits us like a freaking hurricane. Oh, and let me tell you, these disasters rarely care if you just took a hit, another can and usually does soon follow with no regard to how much the last one hurt.
We, by no means, live a frivolous life. How is it many polls categorize income? Ah, yes,
Less than $20000
Well, we fall into that second category. Not hateful, but certainly tricky at times.
Here’s what we do when things are a bit wack-a-do with our finances. As I go through our monthly expenses, I keep in mind the following four things:
- Can I Clear out the Clutter – no, not house clutter, financial clutter. Are there things you’re paying for that you don’t absolutely need? Things such as music, TV, extra data on our phones. Clear those things out. Turn the cable off or lower it to bare minimum. Check out that data, are you really using 10GB a month? Can it be lowered and shared. Do you need that music app that charges a fee, when there are plenty of great free musics apps out there…iHeart comes to mind. Do you need that storage unit? Odds are if it’s been in storage, it’s probably not been used in quite some time. Really ask yourself if you can do without whats in that storage unit and then sell or donate it. Any money you have going out that doesn’t need to be going out, clean it up and clear that clutter.
- If I Don’t Ask, I Won’t Know – Many companies are now offering to work with you when it comes to lowering your bill. Companies like AT&T offer specials on a regular basis which could save you money. Credit card companies are not out to get you. If you’ve paid on time or even if you haven’t, they may be willing to lower your payment, change your payment date, or even lower your interest rate. It takes staying in contact with them and letting them know what your situation is. Without you these companies wouldn’t even be in business. You make them money. You won’t know about these things unless you get on that phone and ask.
- Reevaluate Our Needs and Wants – Many times what we want differs greatly from what we need. Look at your finances much like you look at those new pair of shoes. Do you really need another pair of red sandals? How may times have you talked yourself out of buying something because you knew it wasn’t needed? Finances are much the same.Looking at your finances with an eye of want vs need may help you discover more areas where you could be saving yourself more money. Are credit cards a need or a want? Is a membership to the gym a need or a want?
- Don’t Pay for What is Free or Minimal Cost – This goes along with clearing the clutter and evaluating needs from wants. That gym membership may be great but is there a way you could exercise that wouldn’t cost you any money? Could you get by for awhile without cable TV? Netflix has many of your favorites AND you can binge watch! There is a minimal expense for Netflix but it’s a far cry from the astronomical expense of cable. Try to think of other things you’re paying for that you could be doing for free or at a much lower cost.
Those are a few of the things I do when things go left of center financially.
What do you do?
Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? I’ve known several people who have gone through his program, Financial Peace University and everyone of them says IT WORKS! I think it’s time to give ol Dave a visit. I’m sure he has some great tools.
Times can get tough, money can be tight, but I’ve learned there is ALWAYS ways to cut expenses. Sometimes we have to do without certain luxuries or wants, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy life and have our needs met. Thank the good Lord!
What do you do when money is tight and you’re struggling?