How To Not Feel So Broke (When You Actually Are)
Feeling (and being) seriously broke can cause anxiety and depression because a lack of money feels like you’re not living your best life. If you’re tired of feeling broke every single day of your life, it’s time to change how you handle your money, and it’s time to change how you think about money. Even if you’re actually broke, there’s still ways to feel like you’re at least keeping your head above water.
We’ve put together our top 12 ways to help you feel not so broke even if you actually are. Whether you’re swimming in debt, or you’re simply not making as much income as you want, there’s ways to feel less broke. When you don’t feel so broke all the time, you are able to think clearer and stop the anxiety about money so that you can help re-shape your financial life and get into a better place with your money.
Personal finance is not taught in schools, and if your parents didn’t teach you about money, it’s no wonder that most of us are broke. It’s time to take charge of your financial future with these 12 hacks to not feel so broke.
Count Your Things
We know to practice gratitude and count our blessings to feel abundant. But if you’re a visual learner, try counting your literal items in your house that make you happy. Whether it be your shoe collection, makeup stash, clothes you love, or craft supplies, physically put out on display and count any items that you love. This will remind you that you actually have “a lot” and that you’re not lacking as badly as you feel.
For me, I put all of my shoes out in the open so I see them easily with my own eyes. Then whenever I have the urge to buy more shoes, I can look at my entire collection and it’s easier to delay the purchase or even feel like I don’t need anymore shoes when I have 20 pairs staring at me. Then I get the little thought that maybe I’m actually a shoe hoarder, which helps to quickly curb any new shoe shopping urge.
Extra credit if you start an Excel spreadsheet to catalog the number of items you have in your house, such as the number of black shirts, pairs of jeans, or red lipstick.
When you feel broke, it seems impossible to buy anything for yourself. But if you’re smart with your budget (more on budgeting is below) then you can strategically plan for consistent splurges. I call these “strategic splurging” where you pick a product or service to buy on a consistent monthly or bi-weekly basis. If you can afford it and plan within our current income, you can still treat yourself so that you don’t feel so broke all the time.
For me, I plan for bi-weekly mani/pedi’s when I get paid every 2 weeks. I personally feel way more put together when I have my nails done, and I will sacrifice eating lunch out everyday just to get my nails done at a salon. So whether you love to splurge on your morning coffee, Sunday brunch with friends, Thursday night happy hour, or a new lipstick, create a strategic splurge and plan for the purchase ahead of time in your budget.
Be Smart with Debt
Do you feel broke because of a lot of debt? If you have credit card debt, personal loan debt, or any other type of unsecured debt like these, and you’ve had this debt for more than 6 months but can’t seem to pay it off, empower yourself to create a plan to finally get rid of the debt. Sign up for free at CuraDebt to get some quick info. Or if you’re serious about learning how to finally get rid of debt, you can get a totally free, no obligation debt consultation online or via phone with CuraDebt (who have been in business for 18 years).
Remember that debt is typically what lowers your credit score, so if you want to buy a house, get a new car, get a bank loan for a new business, move into a new apartment, or even buy a cell phone on installment payments, debt on your credit score can slow down or completely stop you from getting any of these things and more.
Debt can snowball into a monster, especially if you don’t educate yourself on a plan of how to pay it off, or if you don’t understand how high interest rates is what’s stopping you from paying it off, CuraDebt offers free consultations so you can start to take control of your debt and create a plan to get rid of the debt once and for all.
*Pro Tip: Avoid what’s called “charge off” if you are in credit card debt. A charge off occurs when you don’t pay the minimum payment on your credit card for a length of time (anywhere from 3-7 months depending on the credit card). When a charge off occurs, the credit card company will shut down your credit card account so that you can’t use the card anymore, and they send the debt to a collections agency. This significantly lowers your credit score because of how the debt is now in collections. If you are having a difficult time paying your minimum monthly payment, sign up for a free consultation with CuraDebt on their website. When you sign on on their website, their algorithm will instantly give you free information so you can start to take control of your credit card debt.
Micro Side Hustles
I coined the term “micro side hustles” because we tend to think of a side hustle as building a 6-figure business while working a full time job and having kids. Micro side hustles are small money-generating activities you can do at home on your laptop or phone in your spare time. Depending on the hustle of your choice and the time you spend, some people make $20 on a Saturday, up to a few hundred dollars in a month or more. And using the term “micro” also takes the pressure off of us to turn the hustle into a million dollar business in 90 days. You can even turn your micro side hustle into your hobby during the weekends and on your down time so that you can stay busy and won’t feel so broke if you’re focusing your mind on things that are productive.
Here’s a few micro side hustle ideas to start:
Surveys that Pay in Cash
The below survey sites are legit, they pay out in cash, and they are simply watching videos or taking surveys on what you like/dislike. These survey companies are actually market research firms where big brand names need to get data on market research for their own product development. Taking surveys won’t make you rich, but if you are content with making up to an extra $100+ dollars per month in your spare time then try survey sites for some mindless money-making.
Start a Blog
If you have the patience to build a blog in the long haul and you’re not in it for a get-rich-quick scheme, blogging as a hobby and being able to make some dollars from it to pay for a cup of coffee is the way to go. The creative freedom and building something that you own completely (your spouse and employer won’t have ownership over your own personal blog) then starting a blog to talk about what you love is the best hobby. Two ways to easily start a blog is through Bluehost and Weebly.
Weebly is for someone who can barely use a computer because the platform is so dummy-proof. There’s no coding and no designing involved. This is great for someone who has never tried blogging before and has almost zero knowledge about technology. The only downside is that even though it’s easy to use, it’s not greatly customizable or flexible. I had a blog on Weebly before needing more creative flexibility and then moved to Bluehost. Weebly is great for the true hobbyist who isn’t super interested in growing income from blogging but want to blog as a hobby.
If you have a knack for self-learning and the patience to teach yourself the basis about website building, then Bluehost is the best bet. You can use Wordpress so you have full creative control over the look and functionality of your blog. Bluehost also has great customer service where you can do live chat with them if you’re really stuck and need help. Most professional full-time bloggers use Bluehost, so if you’re thinking of turning this micro hustle into something that can create part time (or even full time) income in the future, then start with Bluehost. And it costs $3.95/month to start so it’s extremely affordable if you want to invest a little in growing a side hustle.
Pay in Cash
Debit and credit cards make it easy for us to overspend. Cash in a bank or credit cards feels like “fake money” or “virtual money” because we can’t physically see the cold hard cash. If you follow Dave Ramsey, you know he created the Envelope System to budgeting where you use physical cash to budget the necessities such as groceries and bills.
In my own budget, I have various “buckets” such as money I set aside for a bi-weekly mani/pedi, “play money” for impulse purchases (yes, I budget for unexpected purchases), entertainment, savings and more. Then I take out cash for most of my buckets and have physical cash stashes for each budget that I hide in my bedroom. This means that the cash left in my bank account are for bills paid on autopay. I rarely use my debit card for purchases (unless it’s Amazon, and I budget for those purchases ahead of time so I leave money in my checking account, or I deposit cash into my checking to cover the purchases).
Low-Cost Subscription Fashion
If you love fashion and beauty as much as we do, it can get expensive really fast. We love monthly subscriptions because you get the best prices on autopilot, making it easier to budget for a recurring monthly subscription versus having to make impulse purchases when you have a surprise event that comes up (then wearing one outfit for just that event because you don’t want to repeat wear .
Our #1 recommendation is Rent the Runway where you have 100% complete control over the clothing pieces you get, and you can hand-pick what you want to wear for your rental from high designers like Gucci, Celine, Derek Lam, Elizabeth and James, Rachel Zoe, Rebecca Taylor, 3.1 Phillip Lim, AG, Helmut Lang, Kendra Scott, and many more. Free shipping both ways, free dry cleaning, free insurance in case you accidentally spill wine on your outfit, and you can get a rotating closet for as little as $69 for the first month. Simply pick your pieces from the Rent the Runway app on your phone, you receive the shipment in 2 days, wear the pieces, then ship them back when you’re done using their pre-paid labels.
Pay Your Taxes
We all hate paying taxes but it’s a necessary step in your financial health. If you owe the IRS for previous taxes, or you can’t bring yourself to talk or negotiate with them directly, make sure to read their free e-book “5 Things to Know When Owing Money to the IRS” over at TaxRelief.io. IRS tax debt is one of the most stressful types of debt, so make sure to read all of the free information available to you. TaxRelief.io also does free consultations if you’re truly overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Learning about your options and putting a plan in place will make you feel less broke because you’re taking charge of your financial situation to get your money back on track.
Take advantage of as many benefits you have access to through your employer. Sign up for anything that’s available to you such as health insurance, 401k or retirement plan, continuing education or conferences that your employer will pay for you, or even when there’s a company party (free food!). If you have the medical, dental or eye insurance, make sure to actually use the insurance because the $50/month you spend on the insurance through your employer actually costs upwards of $500/month if you pay for the insurance at full cost as an individual (which is what freelancers pay).
Student Loan Help
Student loan debt can sometimes take 5-10 years or more to pay off, and it’s a debt that hangs over you when you stack on more expenses like a mortgage and car payments. If you need help with federal and private student loans, American Debt Enders gives free information and consultation so you know your options on what to do with your big student loan debt. It’s so ironic that student loans help pay for college, yet we get into jobs that don’t pay us enough to get rid of the student loan debt at the end of the day. Oh the irony of life.
American Debt Enders do more than student loan debt help including PayDay loans you can’t pay back, bankruptcy consultation, credit card debt, or if you need help to increase your credit score.
Save Money on Daily Purchases
Saving money on items you have to buy in order to live (like groceries or makeup at Sephora) is a no-brainer. Sign up for free money-saving sites that have features like automated coupon application, rebates on online purchases, and saving at checkout at your favorite websites without having to wait for a sale. If you are smart with your purchasing and saving habits then you won’t feel so broke when you are shopping for the necessities since you’re getting the best possible price. Try these resources for free to start saving ASAP.
If you have a big monthly grocery bill then use Ibotta for free and they will give you cash back. Or if you shop on Amazon, Target, Walmart, Sephora, Walgreens, Vitacost, Ulta, JCrew, QVC, Priceline, Petco, Banana Republic, iTunes, Groupon, eBay, Booking.com, Hotels.com (and more on Ibotta’s roster) then definitely save money with Ibotta. It’s free to sign up on Ibotta. If you shop both in-store, online and through your phone, you must use them to get you cashback on purchases. Go shopping in-store then upload a photo of your receipt to their site or app, and they will find any coupon they can apply and give you cash back within 48 hours. Or remember to scan a store loyalty card at checkout then Ibotta automatically deposits cash back on existing offers within 48 hours too. If you shop through mobile apps a lot, Ibotta can also give you cash back on your mobile purchases as well.
Ebates is one of the OG rebate websites. Based off of the traditional idea of rebates, simply sign up for a free account and then the next time you need to make an online purchase, simply search for the retailer on Ebate’s website then go shopping. You will receive cash back on all purchases you make. Amazon, Macy’s, Kohls, Sephora, JCPenny, Abercrombie, Belk, GNC, Under Armour, American Eagle, Athleta and more quality for cash back. Ebates even does double cash back, as well as in-store cash back too.
Stay Busy with Low-Cost or Free Hobbies
Being bored at home can remind you of how broke you are. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to get out of the house. Stay busy with low-cost or free hobbies that you can enjoy by yourself or with others. The secret is to schedule in your hobbies and fun activities on your calendar ahead of time so that you are forced to stick to your commitment. I like to schedule every other Saturday for going out of the house with friends (one time per bi-weekly pay period), and I budget $50 each time as “Entertainment” cost. This way I know how much I want to spend and I build it into my budget ahead of time so I’m having fun while being a financially responsible adult.
FINALLY Feel in Control of Your Money
Already feeling confused and overwhelmed with what you just read? Don’t know where to start with your finances? Do you have zero time to learn everything you need to know about personal finance so that you can get out of debt, create a budget, plan for retirement, or start saving? If you need someone to simply tell you the best ways to handle your money and financial future, get free professional help with Credit Assistance Network. If you have debt and not enough income, yet you don’t know how to save, don’t know how to get in debt, and you have dreams of making big purchases in the future like a house or new car, then Credit Assistance Network can help for free so you can start educating yourself and create a plan that you can stick to. Getting a handle on your current financial situation is the real secret to not feeling so broke when you actually are.