Scraping up More Pennies During Tough Financial Times
Don’t worry if you’re struggling right now. You’re not alone.
Even the best of us have seen a few changes in our finances thanks to the 2020 lockdown, and further pandemic troubles. It might be time to tighten our belts a little, but try not to panic. There are several things you can do to help your finances in a post-pandemic world.
We are so used to having a wage and living with it that we forget we can actually ask for more. A wage increase doesn’t have to come with a mafia-style union meeting, or with a promotion; you can actually nag your boss into giving you more wages. The power of nagging actually works in this situation, especially if you have some negotiation skills. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to keep applying for other jobs so that if negotiations get tough, you can threaten to leave. Heck, you may actually find another employer who is willing to pay you more!
It sounds like non-advice, but there is a sound logic to making small savings around the home, in your life, and even making small savings in your business operations. When you make a conscious decision to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste, and when you make a decision to cut your unnecessary expenses, you are actually re-enforcing behaviour that stops future excess. Part of the benefit is that you make a few small savings, but the biggest benefit is your future spending decisions are tempered by, for want of a better word, penny pinching. You make less extravagant and wasteful decisions in the future. It actually prevents future mismanagement of your fund.
Like with all good practices, it’s just about doing it until it becomes habitual and second-nature.
If you have your own full-time business then perhaps consider an offshoot business. For example, if you make candles, then use the same moulds to make soaps too. However, if you are full-time employed, then why not start a small business in your own time? You will have to partially subsidise it with your wages at first, but even a few hours per week can help generate a little extra income. Plus, these days there are hundreds of things you can do, from logo design and web design, to giving paid reviews or making YouTube videos and receiving donations from loyal fans.
Few people realise they can call up their credit card companies and loan companies and re-negotiate terms. Sometimes, they will put you on a payment plan that lasts a few months until your financial problems are over, and other times they will freeze your card until it’s paid off. This often affects your credit rating, but if you’re genuinely having trouble paying your bills, then a little damage to your credit rating is often better than having overdrawn bank accounts later down the line. At the very least, you can get in touch with your credit card companies and inquire about the help they give to people who are having financial difficulties. Asking questions and getting information doesn’t harm your credit rating.
Sell things you don’t need…but make sure you’re sensible about it!
During tough times, some people will sell big items like laptops, freezers, and so forth. They figure they will be able to buy them again in the future when they have more money, but that isn’t how it works. When you sell something you actually need, you are wasting money, especially since you will have to pay out more in the future.
Instead, find things you know in your heart you will never use again, and sell those. You are probably not going to use that bread maker ever again, and you haven’t used your rowing machine for over two years, and do you really need your old PlayStation 3 games now you have upgraded to a PlayStation 5? The only area where this doesn’t apply is when you are selling your clothes. Obviously, you can sell your old clothes since you are probably going to end up buying new clothes in the future anyway.
Final Thought – Does Scraping Pennies Mean You Have to Suffer?
It’s less about suffering and more about inconvenience. You have to endure the inconvenience of buying regular onions and cheese rather than pre-chopped onion and pre-grated cheese. It’s inconvenient having to dig out your old candy-floss maker to sell or having to start a small business on the side. If your penny pinching and your saving starts to become suffering, then slow it down a little because the more you make yourself suffer, then the higher the chances are you will relapse and start spending to make yourself feel better.
It’s all about making small, practical changes that can make all the difference. It will take effort, work and belief, but we know you can do it!