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Are you struggling with financial issues, and feeling at a loss when it comes to finding solutions? You’re not alone.
Navigating the sometimes perplexing world of finances can feel daunting, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t strategies you can use to outsmart your money worries once and for all.
Luckily, these 14 quick and clever tips will show you how, from budgeting hacks to strategizing investments, to kick-start your journey toward financial freedom.
Get ready to get savvy about saving, so that you never have to stress over money again!
Table of Contents
1. Make Meals From Scratch
Save money and put a delicious spin on your dinner by cooking from scratch.
Not only will you be able to avoid the pricey convenience foods, but you’ll also have greater control over what goes into your dishes, which means healthier options for everyone.
Best of all, you don’t need to become a gourmet chef overnight. Start simple: use basic recipes and switch up the ingredients.
You can even take a stab at making your own sauces, dressings, and other condiments that often come with hefty price tags.
2. Take Advantage of Free Activities
There are plenty of activities you can do that don’t have to cost anything, like taking nature walks, visiting flea markets, going to the beach, or even exploring your own city.
Do some research online, ask around on social media and you’re sure to find all sorts of fun things to do, often for free.
You can also look for places with “pay-what-you-can” programs, where you decide what you want to pay (or if you pay at all). Many places offer free classes, as well.
Take advantage of these opportunities and you’ll have plenty to do that won’t require your wallet.
3. Making a Map of the Future
One person responded comprehensively and well-thought-out, stating, “You tread carefully. Desperation can lead to many things you regret. You spend time on yourself and get to know yourself. Sit down with a notebook or anything you can write on (if you have nothing, you have whatever device you posted this on).
Write down a list of things you’re good at; whether you enjoy doing those things or not. Look for local jobs online/in person and apply. Doesn’t matter if you’re qualified or not, applying is free and legal.
Look for free certification courses online to add to your resume. Many can be completed in 1-2 weeks. Be strategic and make yourself irresistible. Also, look for food pantries and reach out to family/friends.”
Many others agreed, “This is the right answer. “Don’t just do something, stand there!” Another replied, “Sitting down and plotting a course for the future is better than sitting around wondering what to do.”
4. Take Advantage Of Pawn Shops
While pawning things shouldn’t be your first option, it is an option nonetheless.
If you know you have money coming in and simply need cash now, consider pawning some things you own.
You’ll get the cash now, and then when you have money come in, you can repay the loan and get your stuff back.
5. Sell Random Items As Is or Fix Them Up
Looking for things to sell around your house for cash or even dumpster diving and searching for things being sold or given away around town can be a great way to bring in extra income.
One person said, “I ran out of money a few years ago like this, I remember 2 things that I did. I scrapped metal at the local recycling facility, and I sold furniture and random items on Craigslist/Marketplace. I literally just drove around alleys and industrial sites all day looking for metal/furniture that I could resell. Paid my rent and bills like that for like 3 months.”
Another person agreed, stating, “If you live in a big city, check your local self storage facilities. People always dumping huge amount of stuff and you picking it up, frees up trash space or having to call the trash guys to come early and pay extra. Leave your name and number, and if you are reliable, they will always call you to remove big expensive item.”
Yet another chipped in with some other places you can sell stuff on, “You can go to garage/estate sales and resell things on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay.”
6. Go Into Debt And Take Loans
In some extreme cases, you might have to make otherwise bad financial choices. This includes going into debt.
What you should not do is live as if money isn’t an object here. You only charge what you absolutely need.
So charge your groceries, but only buy cheap items that will last, like pasta, rice, peanut butter, etc.
When you get back on your feet, you can start tackling this debt. Of course, it will add stress to your life, but if you have no other options and it helps you to survive, it is an option.
7. Spending Money Wisely
Looking for ways to survive on $1,000 a month? On person said, “Spend the $20 wisely: peanut butter and ramen, beans and rice. Do not scorn the crap jobs: flipping burgers, bussing tables. Small businesses with help wanted signs might can start you right away.”
Another person agreed, stating, “Cheap and calorie dense. My budget staples are beans, rice, cheese, potatoes, frozen veg, and eggs. Although egg prices are pretty crazy right now with the bird flu thing.”
A final person responded with, “Yeah, my go to’s in those days were peanut butter and saltines, ramen, frozen peas and corn, Lipton Noodles and sauce when on sale. If OP knows anyone in the area with a Costco membership, its a great way to ask for help without asking for actual monetary help – just having that opportunity to get bulk sized things like peanut butter goes a long ways.”
8. Selling Pics of Your Feet
Sometimes, funny answers can be viable or at least relieve some stress for the moment.
One person said, “Sell feet pics.” Another replied, “An intriguing idea. Team up with a bunch of cam girls who do foot stuff, if they don’t pay enough money your feet start streaming instead.”
One person optimistically added, “Never know until you try!”
9. Find Quick Ways to Make Money
Being frugal is essential if you’re living on a meager income, but it doesn’t always prevent the money from running out. Some people find creative ideas using their bodies to make money fast to boost their income.
One commenter said, “Donate plasma. I don’t really know the specifics but I see it suggested all the time when people post like this. Good luck man.”
Another person offered, “My brother was in a similar situation about 15 years ago. That temp job got him a job at a bank. He is set with a great bank job now and just paying off his house. He says he just worked his butt off through the temp agency and they saw that and prioritized him for the better job.” Yet another person added, “Do you have a car? Recommend gig stuff like doordash or Uber if you need quick cash. Definitely do not recommend as a full time thing, it’ll ruin your car in the long run.”
10. Reach Out for Support
More often than not, there are plenty of ways to get help when you need it, whether it is with free food, reduced housing, and more.
One commenter said, “Go to a local community non-profit agency and get a case manager who can help with local resources (food banks, utility assistance, rent assistance, church donations, clothing banks, possibly gas cards depending on if they have grants, etc.) and also help apply for employment and/or disability.”
In another thread, a person said, “I agree with this. My husband and I have a good friend who is a long haul truck driver who was in a situation 4 years ago – he had broken up with his fiancé, and he was left with a house and 2 big dogs (and one was pregnant) that couldn’t be cared for because he’s out on the road all but 6 days a month. my husband and I were in a bad spot at the time, so all we worked out an arrangement that we would live in the house in the spare rooms, and take care of it and the dogs while he’s away.
We’re still here 4 years later (except now we have 3 dogs because we kept a puppy, plus a kitten we just got in October). It was a huge financial lifesaver for all of us at the time, and everyone is happy. And it’s saved my husband and I money to the point he’s starting his own business in the next couple of months – and our housemate and us have bank accounts at the same branch so we can transfer money back and forth if anyone needs spotted for a minute, which is rare these days but still can happen.
A good support system is everything. I wish everyone could have one, but I know that isn’t the case. We didn’t for awhile, but we have a great one now. It’s a lifeline.”
11. Try to Find Ways to Become Self-Reliant
It’s not just about surviving the now but finding ways to become self-reliant and invest in yourself.
One person explained their strategy, “I’m fortunate in the fact that I live in a rural area and I’m a farmer, but here’s what’s worked for me. Buy nothing. If it’s not food or something that’s related to the ability to obtain food, it’s not necessary. Forget having the newest and greatest. I just gave up on my iPhone 6 this past fall. Reuse anything you can. For example, my neighbor tore off his old deck to rebuild a new one. The deck on my old house had disintegrated so I rebuilt it using his old boards. It looks surprisingly good actually.
Grow as much of your own food as possible. Big garden, freeze and preserve as much as possible. Don’t get the illusion you can hunt or fish and get money ahead. The equipment costs WAY more than you’ll recover in good meat.
Look for energy sources anywhere you can. I partially heat using a waste oil and general garbage burner I made myself. It’ll burn any kind of used oil, waste wood (scraps and sawdust), cardboard, old clothing or towels, etc. It’s not very efficient, but it offsets some of my heating expenses and didn’t cost me anything but time to build.
Learn to fix anything. This is critical. I mean really learn how everything works. Get to the point where you understand that electricity has almost nothing to do with electrons. That level of understanding. Once you’ve got to that point everything is much easier to fix. I completely understand the advantages I have as a farmer to live more frugally. For someone in a dense urban environment it’s much more difficult.”
12. Prioritize Bills
It can be overwhelming to pay bills when you are flat broke.
A good rule of thumb is to prioritize them. First on the list should be housing. Everything in life becomes harder when you are homeless, so your mortgage or rent should be at the top of the list.
From there, seek out assistance for your other bills and think what else is critical to surviving.
As one person said, “When deciding what bills to pay, prioritize housing! There are many food assistance programs to help, but once you become homeless everything is so much harder. If you’re in the US, some areas have a hotline for community services if you dial 211, so it’s worth checking if your area is one of them. They can connect you with non-profits that specialize in housing assistance, utility assistance, finding food, and even mental health stuff.”
13. Buy Cheap On eBay And Sell For A Profit
Buying low-cost items on eBay and reselling them for a profit can be a great way to make some extra money.
Researching what items sell well, as well as the current market rate of those items, is key if you want to maximize your profits.
Also, it’s critical to factor in all costs related to shipping the item and fees associated with selling it.
eBay is an ideal platform for flipping items and making a few extra bucks because of its massive user base.
14. Stay Home Instead Of Going Out
Staying home instead of going out can be a great way to save money.
Making dinner at home or even having a movie night with friends is much cheaper than going out for a night on the town.
Plus, you get the added bonus of spending quality time with those closest to you!
If you decide to go out, look for cheaper alternatives such as happy hours or discounts.
These can often be just as fun and exciting while helping you save a few bucks simultaneously.
It’s also important to budget accordingly to have enough money for necessities like rent, food, and utilities.
Save Money When You Are Broke
When you have no money, the idea of saving sounds impossible. In fact, for many people, the idea never crosses their mind because they are only focused on getting money to survive.
But there are steps you can take to actually save money even when you are broke. Doing so will help you change your financial life faster than you thought possible.
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How To Get Back On Your Feet
When financial setbacks happen, you have two options. You can either give in and accept a life of struggle and stress, or you can do something about it.
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Here are over 25 great ways to make up to $1,000 in a short amount of time.
How To Get Free Money
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There are many ways you can get free money, from playing games, to watching videos, and more.
Here are the best ways you can get free money without having to work for it.
This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.