When you can’t afford to live, doing your budget, trying to stretch your money and finding that you can’t afford to survive, can make you feel overwhelmed, lead to depression, like you’ll never achieve the American Dream and give you feelings that you’re letting your family down. If you can’t afford to live, use these tips to help yourself make things a bit easier.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just can’t seem to make ends meet no matter how hard you try? Maybe you’re working multiple jobs, cutting back on spending, and are still struggling to pay your bills.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Right now, a whole lot of American families and families around the world – especially those who were already in low-income families before inflation hit – are in the same boat and are finding it harder and harder to afford what they need to live.
What Do You Do When You Can’t Afford to Live Anymore?
The first thing to understand is that there is no magic spell that will suddenly fill your bank account with money to spare. Being unable to afford your basic needs is honestly a complex issue and most of the time, it can require a bit of fancy footwork to tackle.
However, there are steps you can take to help yourself ease the financial burden and manage the financial crisis you’re in to make living and providing your basic expenses just a bit more affordable.
Take a Deep Dive into Your Finances
The first step is to get a clear picture of where your money is going. This means tracking your expenses. Unfortunately, one of the main reasons a family will struggle financially is overspending on things you can’t afford.
The simplest way to do this is to carry a small notebook and pen with you at all times. When you spend money, write it down.
If you would rather have something a bit more organized, using an expense tracker like THIS one or an account ledger book such as THIS might work.
The other option for tracking expenses is to download your bank statements for the past three months. Go through each expense, line by line and categorize it. After a while, yo9u’ll start to see how your expenses trend and by the time you’re done, you’ll know where you’re wasting money at.
Redo Your Family Budget
Once you have a clear picture of your spending habits, it’s time to look for ways to cut back on your spending so you have a lower cost of living. The first way to do this is to create a new family budget for yourself.
Be honest with yourself about the expenses you’re adding to your budget. IF you can not afford something, don’t add it. If you can’t afford to live, you can’t afford to waste money.
Keep the expenses only to your minimal household expenses. This should include things like your home or apartment, child care costs, necessary medical care, groceries, utilities and transportation costs.
Once you’ve totaled up all of your expenses, you’ll know if you have the stability of making enough money to cover them.
Reduce Your Regular Expenses
The next step to making sure you can afford to live is to reduce your basic expenses. In fact, when you can’t afford to live, your biggest concern should absolutely be finding a way to spend less on these things.
These are the must have bills you must pay every month. It can mean finding new ways to save money on food, learning a new skill that saves money, learning how to save money on your cell phone bills, making more of what you need at home or even finding a more affordable housing option and downsizing.
A Quick Word on Affording Medications:
There are other things that can fall into this category. Medications are one of them. If you are on life-saving medications, do not under any circumstances leave them out of your budget.
Supplements, while helpful, are not absolutely necessary 90% of the time. Yes. It hurt me to say that.
If you don’t have affordable health insurance – and as someone who pays $1300/mo. for her own insurance, I’m not sure there is such a thing – seek out a prescription discount program. These can often help you save up to 90% off retail prices.
Another way to save on them is by looking for manufacturer savings card. One of my medicines, Humira, is around $6500 per dose. My insurance pays all but $75 per dose, but that’s still quite a bit of money for one shot. Thankfully, the manufacturer offers a discount program and my final out of pocket cost is only $2.50 per dose. Insulin manufacturers and others often offer these are well.
Find a Discount Wherever You Can
Just because you have to spend money, doesn’t mean you can’t save money. There are many, many ways to find discounts that can help you. Aside from the normal ways to save like using coupons, you will want to find other money saving tools as well.
Some of these could include getting cash back when you shop, or even scanning your receipts with THESE apps to get money back.
There are ways you can save at the gas pump and even discount programs for that as well.
If you must shop online, use a coupon code. If you don’t have on handy, apps such as Honey will help you find one.
In other words, walking into a store and simply paying the price without looking for every single way to save, must become a thing of the past when you can’t afford to live.
Seek Other Housing Options
If you live in the suburbs, moving into the surrounding metro area or the city as you downsize can often save you money provided you are actually downsizing. Housing in rural areas tend to be more expensive, but utilities are usually cheaper. Because of the differing rates, it’s best to really take a look at which option will save you the most.; especially if you are renters. The last thing you want is to get trapped into a lease you can’t afford. Most landlords will not give you the option to move out without excessive fees.
For homeowners, selling your home and downsizing into a smaller option is a great way to save on your housing costs. This is especially true for a lot of new homes where the builder or real estate investor may be desperate to sell for their own financial reasons. Start your search in your current area and branch out from there.
Increase Your Income
Chances are good that if you’re here and reading this blog post, you don’t make enough money to pay your expenses. If you’ve cut everything unnecessary in your budget and you’re still struggling to make ends meet, it’s time to look for ways to increase your income.
This might mean looking for full-time jobs if you don’t already have one, taking a second part-time job if you already work full time year-round, freelancing, or starting a side hustle. You can also consider selling items you no longer need such as books, clothes, electronics, or furniture.
Even doing something simple as finding a reliable survey company to work on can help.
As simple as the idea may seems, if you don’t have enough money to pay your bare minimum bills, you need to absolutely find a way to make extra money.
After all, making extra money is the only way you are going to be able to get ahead.
Find a Community Resource
If you’re really struggling, look for community resources available to help. Look into food banks, SNAP/WIC or community kitchens if you can’t afford to eat, emergency housing programs if you are experiencing homelessness, and other resources that can provide temporary assistance. There are also programs available to help with utilities, clothes and more.
You can even get assistance like a free cell phone with a free plan if you qualify for other assistance programs.
If you can’t afford your medications, look into a prescription discount plan if you don’t have affordable health insurance.
Get Professional Help
The truth is that being in a situation where you can’t afford to live is a hard one. It’s hard physically when you can’t buy healthy food or medicine; especially if you have health issues. It’s even harder mentally.
This can lead to depression, health issues and unfortunately, even suicidal thoughts.
If you are finding yourself in this situation, please, get help. Call your local crisis center, use a telemedicine company to get counseling. Most Pastors will also give counseling for free or cheap.
And please, try to remember; this will eventually get better.