Has begging for money become the new norm?
It seems that the internet has become an easy way for people to become online panhandlers. I've shared many ways to make extra money from home, online, and even creative side hustle ideas (i.e., “Dave jobs” for all of you Dave Ramsey fans).
But at some point, you have to get your financial shit together and take responsibility for your successes and failures.
Here are five ways to get it done.
Step 1: Evaluate your Income
Do you make enough money to support yourself, your partner, and/or your kids? According to the US Census Bureau, median household income was $61,372 in 2017. Income is calculated including wages and salaries, as well as any governmental entitlement such as unemployment insurance, disability payments, or child support payments received, along with any personal business, investment, or other recurring sources of income for all persons over the age of 15 in the household (whether related or not).
If you aren't currently earning enough money, find ways to make extra cash, such as starting an online business or donating blood plasma for up to $400 per month. There are so many ways to bring in extra money that there are literally no excuses worthy of holding you back. You have to decide to hustle. Work nights and weekends if you have to. Work two jobs if you need to. Go back to school if it will improve your financial situation.
Step 2: Start Budgeting Every Single Time You Get Paid
Financial problems are often the result of overspending and improper budgeting (or worse, failing to budget at all). Budgeting is so important, especially if you are an impulse buyer. You don't need fancy planners or complicated spreadsheets to create a budget. I use this cheap family and finance bill organizer from Dollar General (and have used it for years) to track my budget.
Best Budgeting Apps
If budgeting with a pencil and paper isn't your jam, using apps or spreadsheets can be a great way to track spending. The Balance put together a list of the best budgeting apps available to help you track your income and expenses.
Here they are:
- Best Overall: Mint
- Best to Keep from Overspending: PocketGuard
- Best for Type-A Personalities: You Need a Budget
- Best for Just Budgeting: Wally
- Best for Cash Style Budgeting: Mvelopes
- Best for Couples: Goodbudget
- Best App Tied to a Bank Account: Simple
- Best for Investors: Personal Capital
By creating a written plan for your money every single time you are paid, you'll be able to set realistic financial goals as well as expectations for your spending.
Step 3: Find Ways to Cut Costs
We've become accustomed to certain things, such as TV, internet, cell phones, alcohol, cigarettes, [insert your vice here].
Many people fall into the trap of contracts with DirecTV and AT&T and end up spending so much more than they should. These services are a luxury. If you are begging for money, you don't have money for a TV plan. It's time to cut the cord and downgrade your cell phone to a service like Cricket Wireless.
It is also obvious but seemingly impossible to quit smoking, drinking, and buying things like energy drinks, fountain sodas, and specialty coffee when you can't afford it.
Let's say you have $5 to your name. $5 to get you through the next three days until payday. You could buy your favorite Starbucks drink, OR you could buy a loaf of bread and sandwich meat, OR you could buy a whole rotisserie chicken from Walmart. It's a no-brainer!
Step 4: Determine if Daycare is Worth the Cost
If you and your spouse are both working outside of the home, it's essential to make sure it makes financial sense. Take a look at your take-home pay (assuming you are not the breadwinner). Let's say you take home $1500 per month after taxes and insurance. Sounds pretty decent as an additional source of income for bills, right?
But your childcare costs are $1300 per month for your two small kids and your older child's after-school care. The time you're spending away from your family probably isn't worth $200 per month net, am I right?
When I left my banking career, this was my situation. After expenses, I was taking home around $500 per month. Hardly worth it.
All this being said, you also need to take a close look inside and determine if you want to be at home with the kids all day. I've said this before, but it bears repeating. I am a better mom for my kids when I get a break. When they are in school and work on my blog or YouTube channel, clean house, or run errands, I love it.
Then when it's time for them to come home, I focus on the kids, and I love it! You have to find a balance if you decide to quit your job to stay at home with the kids.
Side Note: If you're worried about healthcare costs, check out how Christian Healthcare Ministries paid nearly all of our $60,000 in medical bills, and our premiums were only $135 per month!
How to Stop a Friend or Family Member from Begging for Money
Stop enabling them. Stop giving them $5 here, $10 there, putting gas in their tank, buying them groceries. Parents: your adult children are adults. A little tough love will help them far more than a few bucks. Offer to proofread their resume or help them look for jobs. But stop giving them money.
You're putting a band-aid on a problem that is far deeper than “How am I going to eat this week.”
Bottom Line: Stop Begging for Money & Take Ownership
Begging for money isn't attractive to anyone. You are worth more than this. When you have conversations with your friends and family, it should be great to talk about how amazing things are going for you. It would be fantastic for you to ask them about their family without always talking about yourself and your financial problems.
It's okay to seek advice and help. It's not okay to have a pity party over and over and over again.
- Evaluate Income – Get and keep a J-O-B.
- Make a Budget
- Find Ways to Cut Costs
- Ditch Daycare (if possible)