Monday, October 17, 2016

Living Well When Money is Tight

Spending time in nature is free

More and more people are facing job loss or job insecurity, but you don't have to give up all the good things in life just because you're broke. There are so many ways to have a great quality of life on very little money.

Take to heart the old quote that you are broke and not poor. The two words mean entirely different things. Broke is a temporary state, that can change in an hour, while poor is a definition of someone who has basically lost hope and can see no way out of poverty. You are broke, not poor, and there is hope for you.

Investigate the services and aid that can help you through this time. For example, do you qualify for Unemployment? Have you applied for food stamps? Assisted housing? Signed up to receive a free food box from your local food bank? Enjoyed lunch at a local soup kitchen? Check out your states services to the poor and struggling people who live there (or your country if you are not a citizen of the USA), and take advantage of everything that you qualify for. That's what these services are for, to help struggling people survive.

If you still have more than one car, get rid of all but one of them, and make sure that it's the most fuel-efficient and usefull vehicle you have. If you're really desperate, sell all your vehicles and use public transportation, or buy a bicycle with carrying ability, or walk everywhere.

Check out all of the places in your area that offer free entertainment. It will be different in every city, but likely your public library can help you with this, they probably have some free entertainment and free activities themselves, as well as knowing what's going on in your town.

Make new friends with people you meet in the same situation as you. Standing in line at the food bank or checking out the library's stack of books on frugal living, you just might run into someone who's already living good while broke. If you ask, they just might share what they know with you.

Learn a new, but inexpensive hobby. Either for fun and entertainment, or as a way to have some future earnings, or both. If you always wanted to learn to crochet or sew for example, now might be a good time. You might get good enough to sell what you make. Many do.

If you own one of those huge "mega-houses", this might be a good time to sell it and buy a much more energy-efficient, smaller and easier to heat and cool house. You might consider moving to a cheaper area too. Where you live, and your choice of home, can make the difference between surviving this period of being broke, or not.

If you still have some money in savings, put some of it to good use and stock up on several months worth of food. A full pantry will ease your mind down the road when little or no money is coming in, because at least your belly will be full.

  • Try to think "out of the box." Just because you're broke, doesn't mean you have lost your ability to reason and figure out solutions to problems.
  • Stay close, or get closer, to your loved ones and friends. Now's not the time to "go it alone."
  • Learn to make do, do without, use it up, and wear it out. No more disposables or throw away products. You just can't afford that now.
  • Give something to others, whether time, energy, or something you have that they need, that you no longer use. Other people are in the same boat, and good people help each other through things.
  • It's not the end of the world if you're broke, so watch out for depression and hopeless thinking.

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