If you tackled the fastest way to save and are now looking for more ways to go from broke, try your hand at these next suggestions.
Actively Track Your Spending
The best way to alter your behavior is to acknowledge it. It’s easy to spend mindlessly if you’re ignoring your finances. Which is why it’s so easy to go broke to begin with.
If you make the effort to record every expense when you make it (there are apps to help with this), you are more likely to evaluate your purchasing decisions before you make them. Usually, this leads to you making better spending choices.
Make a Budget
Once you know where your money is going and you’re actually thinking about what you spend when you spend it, you’ll make your life much easier by creating a budget.
Budget is a dirty word in some circles. It screams constraint and restrictions, but really it’s neither as long as you’re the one making it.
A budget is just you taking control of your dollars instead of letting them be controlled by all the temptations around you. It’s a means for you to put to paper what you want your money to do for you.
It won’t always be accurate, so you’ll need to learn to adjust as you go, but it will help you put your financial priorities in order. Once you do that, it’s a lot easier to see the big picture and avoid the mindless spending.
In other words, prioritize your spending. It doesn’t matter if your priorities match someone else’s or makes them gasp in horror. It’s your budget. Make it work for you.
Stick to the Budget
The next step is the trickiest one. You have to learn to stick to the budget. I don’t mean be absolutely rigid and inflexible. I mean checking your budget before you spend money instead of checking your bank balance.
When you set up your budget, you set your priorities for what you want your money to do. While it’s ok to change things up, if you ignore it until the end of the month you’ll be playing catch up, always wondering why you can’t get ahead.
Use your budget to help you evaluate your spending decisions. If you’ve spent all your Dining Out money but are really craving a pizza, is it worth it for you to take away from that New iPhone X category you’ve been saving up? There’s no right or wrong answer there; there’s only you evaluating your priorities.
Find Additional Income Streams
By this point, I’m assuming you’ve cut your bills or spending as much as you can and are using your budget to evaluate your priorities. If you find yourself still struggling at this point, you need to consider new income sources.
Fortunately, it’s not super difficult to make some quick cash, assuming you’re willing to do the work. With the Gig Economy (Uber, Lyft, Task Rabbit, etc.) you can pick up extra work. With online selling apps (eBay, Decluttr, OfferUp), Craigslist and Facebook sale pages, you can clear out your closets and garages for more return and less hassle than having a yard sale.
The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination. I know folks who have gone back to babysitting, used their skills/knowledge to tutor or start classes, even teach online to students overseas.
There really are a variety of opportunities if you’re willing to put in the research to find or create them and then work to see them through.
Go Save Some Money!
If you follow these suggestions you should be well on your way to saving money, in spite of your broke status. It may take time to build up your data so you can make better-informed spending decisions, but while the data helps, it isn’t everything. I have years of data in YNAB…but data only goes so far.
You need to be disciplined to get you where you want to be.
Be deliberate in your spending and you’ll be saving your way out of broke in no time.