Frugal Solutions for Financial Constraints

Spend less than you make. That is what many of the debt-free moguls decree. Well, that is easier said than done if you already have little debt and make plenty of money. What about the rest of America who is struggling paycheck-to-paycheck and supplementing credit card purchases to make ends meet?

 

The Brick Wall of Credit

  • Living on credit is a fast track to disaster. You know this. But how do you stop? You try to cut spending, but just when you have cut something, a tire blows or Junior breaks his leg. You haven’t had a raise in five years, but groceries, gas, taxes, insurance and utilities just keep going up.
  • Economic meltdown is a mild term for what you know is right around the corner. You put off opening the mail, you don’t answer your phone if it is an unrecognizable number; you ignore the acid-burning ache in your gut that tells you to do something because you don’t know what to do.

Start Swimming to the Top…

  • First of all, you have to stop right where you are and get help. It won’t go away, it won’t get better.
    • There are several non-profit organizations that can look over your budget and guide you.
    • The best ones will even call your creditors and get your interest reduced, stop the overdraft and over limit fees, and help work on a budget for you.
  • There is no sugar coating it. It won’t be easy. It won’t feel good at first. But when you start seeing those balances come down and you start seeing debts paid off, you are going to feel the weight of the world coming off your shoulders.
    • It starts with asking for help. Not just from the non-profit counseling services, but also seeking services in your area that can help you.
    • There are many programs out there than can help you if you are in a certain income bracket.

…Then Grab the Life Jacket

  • There are many programs out there that can help no matter what income bracket you are in. You just have to scout them out.
    • Food pantries. Depending on the size of your town, there may be several organizations that offer free groceries without needing financial information. If you do not qualify for federal or state aid, definitely look into this. If you can supplement your groceries so you can save $50-100/month from your budget that will be a huge help.
    • Church organizations. Sometimes you will find churches that have a program to help provide assistance, training, or classes. Seek out these organizations. Even if it is just a one-time help of some money, any extra help you can get is worth the trouble.
    • Free clothing closets. Look for organizations that provide free clothing. This is especially helpful if you have young children. They grow so fast and are hard on clothes. This is a great alternative to using your credit cards to buy clothes.
    • Thrift stores. Again, this is preferable to shopping the department stores with your credit card. If there are things you need (note: NEED, not want), always check for free items first, then thrift stores.
    • Free recycling programs. If you look around, you will probably find a group or two nearby that has email lists you can sign up for that alert the group to an item someone needs to get rid of, but doesn’t want to add to the landfill.

Soon It Will Be Time to Celebrate!

Hang in there. It won’t be easy, but at least you will know you are headed in the right direction. You will have far less nights of tossing and turning and less days of biting your nails. There are support groups everywhere. If you don’t have one in your area, start one!