It can feel like you’re all alone when facing financial insecurity, but in reality, you’re among a crowd of others dealing with the same issues. According to CareerBuilder, 78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. In addition, nearly one in 10 workers making over $100,00 is also living paycheck to paycheck. But just because financial insecurity is a common problem doesn’t mean it has to be your new normal.
Take control over your money and kick financial insecurity to the curb. From finally facing your fears to creating your own income streams, here’s where to get started.
Face the Truth
The idea of budgeting doesn’t exactly inspire confidence or entice excitement. In fact, 61 percent of U.S. adults don’t keep track of what they spend or budget at all, according to BusinessInsider. You might feel scared to face the truth, or just feel confused about where to start, but a budget is imperative to facing your financial insecurity. Make a list of any consumer debts, monthly expenses, and all cash coming in and out. A money management app such as Mint automatically updates and categorizes your transactions so you know exactly where your money is going. Once you’ve got a handle on any debt and your monthly cash flow, make a commitment to pay down any debt and build up an emergency fund with three to six months of expenses so your finances don’t go into freefall over a leaky roof or car repair.
Create Multiple Income Streams
You may have a job you love, but if you’re feeling financially insecure, you need to take more control of what you’re earning. Or you might be struggling to make ends meet and need more income to refresh your bank account. Create multiple income streams using the skills and interests you already have. Offering services as a virtual assistant on a site like UpWork, tutoring kids after school, delivering packages for Amazon, or consulting on the side can all help put more money in your pocket. Just make sure you’re spending your time and money wisely. For example, investing in expensive courses to teach you a skill should have some kind of proven return on the investment. Likewise, getting started with a business model like direct selling requires figuring out if a company like Amway is a scam or not and how they compensate their representatives to build their own income stream and business.
Lower Your Expenses
Everyone talks about earning more to get ahead, but they’re missing a key part of the equation to crushing financial insecurity. Lowering your expenses, side hustling to pay off debt, and downsizing can all free up serious cash in your budget. But the trick is not to let your lifestyle expenses grow, and use any of the extra cash from lowering your expenses to pay off debt or save. Take a look at your biggest expenses whether school loans, your mortgage, or grocery bill.
Now is the time to get creative. Use a stream of income from your side hustle like doing bookkeeping on the side to pay down your loans faster. You may not be able to eliminate your mortgage, but you can add a little more to the principle every month or rent out a room or basement on Airbnb to make extra money. And if your grocery bill is out of control, do a little meal planning or use a service like InstaCart to shop online with coupons, pick-up your groceries, and pay a small fee to save yourself time and impulse buying in the store.
Remember that financial insecurity doesn’t have to take control of your life. Take deliberate, consistent action to put yourself on the fast-track to financial security and abundance.