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Money doesn’t grow on trees, and when it gets tight, it can be more uncomfortable than wearing shoes two sizes too small. The truth is however that in most cases, when most people are squeezed on funds, a few simple changes to financial habits can go a long way. Here are a few things that you should consider if your cash flow is becoming more of a drip.

Create A Budget… No Really, An ACTUAL Budget!

When some people hear that it’s time to create a budget, they think, “I’m already on a budget, how does writing it down help?” In fact, DebtConsolidation’s guide shows that more than 60% of consumers don’t bother to create a budget. Well, the reality is that making a solid budget is more than just writing a few numbers on a piece of paper or creating a spreadsheet. It’s about understanding your finances and creating a plan to make your personal financial situation a bit more comfortable.

It all starts with getting an understanding of how much money you bring home after taxes are taken out, or your net income. Then, tie in how much money you spend on necessities. These include your bills, food, medical expenses, child care, and anything else you simply could not live without. From there, what’s left is your excess funds. These funds can be divided to pay off debts faster, relieving you of some of your monthly expenses, give yourself a fun budget, and more. However, the key is making sure that when you set your goals through your budget, you set goals that you can stick to. Here’s a great guide that walks you through the steps to making a budget.

Consider A Side Hustle

We all know that get rich quick schemes aren’t going to work. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t inject at least a little bit more money into your budget. Consider putting together what we in the personal finance blogosphere call a side hustle. Are you good decorating? What about writing stories? Do you have any other talents that you may be able to exploit? Do a bit of research and see if you can turn your passions into part-time dollars! You might be surprised at just how much room a side hustle can put back into your budget.

Play The Wait And See Game

Many times, purchases made on impulse can lead to even more of a squeeze. Therefore, it’s a good idea to give yourself a cooling off period before you buy anything that’s not an absolute necessity and costs more than $50. This is considered by many to be the wait and see approach. However, that item you just can’t live without right now may lead to buyer’s remorse tomorrow. So, before you put a squeeze on your pocket, give yourself time to consider whether or not the item is something that you really want and are willing to pay for!

Stop Using Credit Cards

Credit cards are imposters! They claim to be there to help you, but by offering points for purchases, they do anything but. The truth of the matter is that credit card debt is one of the most expensive types of debt on the planet. While it’s a good idea to have a credit card for emergencies, it’s not a good idea to use them on a daily basis unless you have serious control over what you are spending and the willingness to pay the amounts you spend back before they start to accrue interest.

Final Thoughts

When funds start to get squeezed, it’s never a comfortable feeling. However, by following the tips above, you likely have the ability to breath a little life back into your bank account. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started.