This time each year when the season for spending arrives, our budgets tend to get stretched to the max. It's easy to resort to using the most convenient alternative method of payment. For so many people that translates into using credit. Finding ways to make ends meet on a fixed or limited income can seem impossible in some instances without the use of credit cards. Even worse is when you know your budget will not allow you to repay everything right away. This is a predicament that far too many individuals find themselves in without a clear way out. We're here to offer a few practical and helpful solutions that will help you reach your stride in 2018 without digging yourself into a deep hole.
If you are between jobs because you are seeking a better opportunity, were laid off, or even fired, you have recently been in a position where your daily routine required a certain level of professionalism and decorum. In a professional environment, regardless of the industry, employees and stakeholders are expected to present themselves in a particular way and should carry themselves with respect for themselves and others. This is all well understood by those who have been a part of the working adult community. What you may not completely realize when your employment status changes is that once the job ends the routine must quickly adjust.
Adjusting quickly to your new status will prevent you from spending money that you used to have, but now can no longer afford to let go of. If you are accustomed to stopping by your local mini-mall for a little shopping every Thursday evening, you will need to assume a new habit and omit this one from your routine. While you may have more time on your hands, when you don't have is the money to spend your time shopping. Be conscious about examining your routines and eliminating additional or unnecessary spending wherever you can.
Unless you absolutely love shopping, you probably enjoy shopping in the following order;
1. Go into store.
2. Grab needed items.
3. Leave store.
However, for the consummate shopper browsing, scouring, and searching for the deal is more of a hobby than anything else. In many cases it can be considered therapeutic and soothing. For these individuals the challenge is different. For a shopper who enjoys the hunt and is accustomed to being able to make purchases within a certain price rage some new considerations may need to be explored. A lower price bracket is one solution to the shoppers habit on a fixed or limited income. Setting a shopping limit or budget and sticking to it will help you avoid swiping those credit cards.
Finally, out of sight, out of mind. Consider leaving those credit cards at home if you can afford it. This will literally force you to stop spending money that you can't afford to spend. Outside of your basic needs like food, water, clothing and shelter there isn't much else that you actually NEED. As mentioned above, if you have a routine of regular spending outside of your basic needs; a morning coffee, an evening wind down at "Happy Hour", drinks with friends, etc. plan ahead for ways to avoid these events in advance. Saying "No" on the spot when you normally say "Yes" can solicit embarrassing questions about why. Have a planned response to get you off the hook and keep you in the black with your budget.
Understanding that there are some situations where reliance on credit is unavoidable is the final helpful tip. Don't beat yourself up over the things you ultimately need to survive. You have been in difficult situations before and you will face more in the future. Remain positive and trust time to heal all wounds, natural and credit related!