The economy is doing great, with unemployment down and company earnings rising, but everyday Americans aren’t always seeing the benefits. If you’re feeling burned out and undervalued, you’re not alone. Here’s some advice to help you make it through when your wallet is telling a different story than the news.
Diversify Your Income
According to Forbes, 57 million Americans are part of the gig economy. They’re picking up shifts driving for Uber, selling handmade crafts on Etsy, freelance writing and otherwise creating jobs for themselves. For 29% of those people, gigs make up their primary source of income, meaning that there’s no severance pay from a traditional business to fall back on if their work dries up.
Consider diversifying your income to help avoid this financial catastrophe. If you drive for Uber, download Lyft too. If Etsy is your main source of income, consider selling different types of crafts to satisfy a wider audience — or think about new venues to explore. Even those in full-time jobs can pick up some small jobs in their downtime to create a secondary source of income for extra security.
Save Every Penny
It’s easy to throw out coupons or leave a dollar bill crumpled in the bottom of your bag. But how much could you be saving if you paid more attention? Open your eyes a bit more and think about all the ways you could save a few cents here and there. Also, keep track of every decision that helps you save some spare change. In time, you may find you’ve saved up enough to make rent without stressing.
If you’re saving up for a big purchase, try to put it off for as long as possible. You may be able to find a better deal, but you may also need to use those savings for an emergency. Once you have an emergency fund in place to cover you, go ahead and buy what you need.
During the Great Depression, families often learned to get by with less. They fixed older clothing instead of buying it new, grew their own food and learned to give up certain luxuries. Take a page out of these resilient folks’ books and see what you can cut out of your life. Cancel subscriptions you’re no longer using, try learning some easy recipes so you’re less inclined to eat out and set budgets for each shopping trip. Small changes to your habits can lead to big savings.
Taking charge of your finances doesn’t always come naturally. With careful attention to how you’re getting, saving and spending your money, you can begin to build a stronger financial foundation, one baby step at a time.
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