Although many Americans depend on every cent from each paycheck just to get by each month, others don’t even have the luxury of making enough money to sustain their basic needs. A job loss, extra expenses from emergency situations or even being underemployed can contribute to expenses that exceed income.
There is no single or simple solution to make up that extra missing income. However, many families know that if they don’t somehow generate enough money to meet all their expenses, the result could be devastating. Late payments could cause an account to be sent to collections.
While collections companies calling day and night is frustrating, not dealing with those debts could eventually result in a civil judgment that allows creditors to garnish your wages, putting you deeper into debt. If a lack of income causes you to miss multiple months of mortgage payments, the bank could pursue its right to foreclose. Yes, these examples are extreme, but, unfortunately, they also are the very worst case scenario of extremely late payments. And for some families, the worst case scenario becomes reality.
Take charge of your financial situation and mend the cash flow shortage before it severely impacts your life and your livelihood. If your expenses are exceeding your monthly income, and you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, then you need to pursue opportunities and options that allow you to earn more money. Here are some tips for how to make enough money to pay the bills.
Working a Second Job
Many individuals look for a second job when they need to make up a cash flow shortage. This is a simple solution, but it also can be complicated. Your second job can’t conflict with your first job, otherwise you could put your employment situation at risk. If you wish to pursue a second job, then you need to figure out how many hours you can feasibly work and if you can fit them into your schedule. An easy solution would be to find a job that lets you work weekends or late evening hours.
Finding another job opportunity also might be a challenge. If you’re on the hunt for a temporary employment option, you could check out positions at Big Box stores (like Walmart or Target), fast food locations, janitorial positions or maybe even a position as a nighttime hotel or motel clerk. If you have a college degree, your options could be more expansive. You might consider tutoring or freelancing—just make sure any freelance efforts don’t interfere or conflict with your current employer (talk to them first!).
If you have children, then you might also need to pay for extra childcare—which also costs money and takes away from your bottom line. Before committing to a second position, make sure you know exactly how much more you will make—after expenses—to ensure that the position is worth pursuing.
Tips for Scoring a Second Job
- Search for part-time opportunities on Indeed or other job sites
- Talk to a current employer about pursuing freelance opportunities
- Review your resume to ensure that its current
- Get active on LinkedIn and explore opportunities within your network
Selling Your Assets
Assets are tangible items we own that hold financial value and can be resold for a monetary gain. Your home is an asset (if the equity isn’t tapped out), and your car also is an asset. However, other items also can be assets. Jewelry, handbags, expensive clothing and other items also can be resold for a profit. However, if your money situation is dire, then selling off assets can be a solution that keeps your head above water.
If your home has equity, then selling could be an option. But when selling your home, you also need to pay closing costs, your realtor and possibly absorb other expenses along the way. Selling your home should be your last option, as this asset is one that you should hold on to if possible. Of course, if your finances are at rock-bottom, then this is an option worth exploring.
However, many families just need to make extra money for the short-term, so selling off smaller assets makes more sense. If you have fine jewelry, you can sell to businesses who buy gold and diamonds. You likely won’t get top dollar, but you may get enough to allow you to pull through the hard times. Before you sell anything of value, though, you need to decide if you can part with it. Some items hold more emotional value than financial. And selling your grandmother’s pearls isn’t a decision you can really take back.
What about your car? Should you sell it? If your car is paid off and you own it outright, then, yes, you could sell it. However, if this is the only mode of transportation you own, then you need to consider what your options will be after you sell the car. Is the bus an option? Or a subway? If you can’t figure out a dependable second mode of transport, then selling your car might not be the best option.
Many individuals, though, have a lot of hidden assets in their home. You could try selling any antiques you own, expensive technology, crystal or even fine china. Some game stores buy back games or game systems. Or you could try listing the items on Craigslist. If you sell via Craigslist, you need to focus on safety. If someone offers to buy your item, only agree to meet them in a crowded public place—like a coffee shop. Never meet them somewhere remote…or at a home.
And, remember, any money you make should be reported as income for tax purposes!
A List of Saleable Assets
- Your home
- Your car
- Fine jewelry
- Fine china
Cutting Costs with Coupons!
If you view coupons as just a simple way to save a few cents here or there, then you haven’t investigated their full potential. Extreme couponing takes clipping those coupons to the next level of savings. Families can save hundreds of dollars on their grocery bills by taking full advantage of the power of coupons, but it isn’t a small task.
Extreme couponing requires diligence and an investment of time. You also cannot be finicky about the brands you use, because extreme couponing is all about taking advantage of the best deals. And it isn’t just the face value of the coupon that matters in this money savings venture, because the way to get the most savings is by combining a coupon with store promotions—like double or triple coupon days.
Double or triple coupon promotions are days when a store will double or triple the value of the coupon. This is how extreme coupon fans snag extreme savings at the register. When you combine the actual coupon with the in-store promotions—including sale prices—you can purchase an item for a very low price. And some coupon clippers might even get the item for free after all the coupon savings is deducted.
The Penny Hoarder profiled its assistant editor Justin Cupler about his couponing habits. Cupler told the Hoarder that he advises “stacking deals” to save the most money. Stacking allows you to combine rebates, coupons, in-store deals and even competitor’s deals (or coupons) to maximize savings. You “stack” your coupons to get the most money off the purchase. However, he admitted that it doesn’t always work, and some deals won’t be accepted. However, if all those savings do come through, then you can score a very nice deal.
Start clipping and saving with these extreme couponing tips:
- Utilize sites like Coupons.com or Coupon Cabin to find all available coupons
- Buy a Sunday paper and clip coupons from ads
- Review the sites of manufacturer’s like Procter & Gamble and other companies for online coupons or savings
- Review all local ads to discover Double Coupon days and in-store offers (product sales make those coupons even more valuable)
If you are in urgent need of more cash, then your quickest option might be a loan. Not all loans are created equal, and there are several options. You could secure a private loan with a friend or family member. Or go through a bank or lending institution. Each financial situation is unique, and you should do your own research to find one that’s a good fit for you.
Asking a family member or friend for a loan could be an easy option. However, before you ask to borrow money, you need to agree to terms of repayment and/or interest rates. Ideally, you and your friend or family member should create a contract that outlines the loan terms and payment options. Of course, some friends or family members may decide to give you the money.
What about a bank? If you’re looking for a quick loan, then your local bank might be an easy solution. However, the bank will review your credit and if it isn’t good, this could affect your loan terms or your approval. Banks offer many different types of loans, and it’s often best to sit down with a personal banker to discuss what type of loan would be the best solution for your situation. Many families find that a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is one of the best options; this type of loan uses your home’s equity as the collateral. The loan amount is limited to the amount of equity in your home, so if your home doesn’t have equity, then this loan won’t be a fit. When you agree to a HELOC, the lender secures a lien to your home until the loan is paid off. If you fail to meet the terms of the loan, the lender could choose to pursue foreclosure.
Title loans are like a HELOC in that they use the equity of your car as collateral for the loan. With this type of loan, you must own your car or be close to paid off on your loan—typically lenders will not approve a title loan if there is still a large outstanding loan balance on the vehicle. The value of your automobile is one of the biggest factors in making the determination of the amount you can borrow. A car’s value is typically calculated using Kelley Blue Book. Many title loan lenders will approve individuals with less than stellar credit.
So is a loan your best option? Here’s a quick checklist to decide:
- Do you have a friend or family member that has the financial means to loan you the money you need?
- Is your credit score good? Or do you have bad credit?
- Do you have equity in your home?
- Is your car paid in full?
Families may find that their monthly expenses far exceed their income. This creates a stressful situation that means that expenses must be cut or more money must be earned. Since most American workers depend on each cent from every paycheck, when emergency costs hit, the effect on finances can be devastating. Families may find that there isn’t enough money for the mortgage or food. But there are ways to crawl out of the financial pit. When you need extra money, you need to investigate all your options. Research opportunities for a second job, sell off assets, go extreme with coupons or pursue loan options. But no matter what you decide, you need to act as soon as you realize that your finances are running in the deficit. Waiting could lead to absolute financial ruin; act now and take back your financial future!
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