Many Americans are facing difficult economic times as COVID-19 cases spike nationwide and many states impose new restrictions. Whether your financial woes are pandemic-related or existed before coronavirus, there may be options if you’re short of cash and feel like you’ve already cut everything possible from your budget.
Often, people focus on reducing discretionary spending, aiming to reduce cash outflows on things such as dining out, cable TV, or entertainment expenses. And while making these cuts can make sense if you’re overdoing it, there’s only so much you can save by skipping a restaurant meal or two or switching to a cheaper cellphone plan.
Here are four things to consider when you feel like you aren’t accomplishing all you hope to with your money.
1. Look at the big stuff
Back to those small discretionary expenditures. Sustaining big budget cuts by stripping the fun from your life can also be difficult over the long term. A bigger change may be in order if you feel like you’ve already cut all you can.
For most people, the largest monthly payments are for homes or vehicles – and reducing these costs could free up tons of cash. You could consider downsizing to a smaller home, finding a roommate, getting rid of a vehicle, or switching to a cheaper car. These are big shifts, but one of them may reduce your monthly obligations by hundreds of dollars a month.
2. Consider ways to boost income
If you feel like you can’t make any more budget cuts, that may, of course, legitimately be the case. If so, and you’re still not doing all you’d like with your money, there’s only one remaining solution: Earn more. Fortunately, you aren’t limited in how much you can earn, even if you’re limited in how many spending cuts you can make.
You could try to raise the amount you make at your current job by offering to work overtime, asking about advancement opportunities, or negotiating your salary. Or you could do a few hours of work at a side job or even consider starting your own business if you’ve got an idea that won’t require much capital to get off the ground.