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How To Make Ends Meet When You’re Broke

How To Make Ends Meet When You're Broke-Lots of tips and resources to help you stretch your dollar even when money is really tight.

When I first stopped working and became a stay-at-home mom, we were broke. We have no savings, no emergency fund, nada. Although I was making a decent income before we became a one-income household, we were living paycheck to paycheck.

We never expected to lose my income, and we made some really dumb financial decisions that left us in a vulnerable position. Looking back I wish I had done a lot of things differently. I wish we had made wiser financial choices, paid off our debts first, and not get consumed with trying to keep up with everyone else.

Funny how hitting rock bottom can change one’s outlook on life. I’m grateful for the tough times because it has made me wiser with the choices I make today. However, I also understand that not everyone that is in a tight financial spot got there by making unwise choices.

Some of you might be struggling with health issues and high medical bills. While some of you might be facing unemployment or the loss of a loved one.

First, I want to say that my heart goes out to you. I know the feeling of desperation and not knowing how you’re going to stretch your last dollar.

Now looking back, I’m grateful that I was forced to make our money go further than before. It enabled me to get creative in many areas so that we could make ends meet. Today I’m sharing some resources that will hopefully help you do the same.

How To Make Ends Meet When You’re Broke

Let go of your wants

What are you hanging on to that’s chipping away at your financial resources? Is it a home? A car? Looking back, I can now laugh at the fact that I considered our last home our dream home.

The place gave us nothing but headaches. We had foundation issues, lack of insulation (which jacked up our heating bill), plumbing issues, and grouchy neighbors. And I’m just scratching the surface.

But it was in a desirable neighborhood and it was a single home. My favorite color (yellow) and it was mine. But I also knew that it was draining us financially. So when push came to shove, we knew we had to move to something that made more financial sense.

We now live closer to my husband’s business, we spend less on heating/cooling and don’t have the maintenance expenses of our last home. Now is the time reevaluate your needs vs your wants. If it’s not helping you get ahead, consider letting go and moving on.

Find your money leaks

When you feel financially comfortable, you don’t think about where your money is going. Cut your income back drastically, and you instantly notice where every penny goes.

When money was flowing in, we had no problem going out to eat several times per week. I had local restaurants and pizzerias on speed dial. But when money got tight and I realized eating out was no longer a need, we cut our food expenses by more than 50%.

We were also spending money on expensive cable services, gym memberships, and other unnecessary things that we didn’t even have the time to use. If you’re not sure where to begin cutting back or how to maximize your income, check out these great resources to help you get started:

7 Reasons You Keep Overspending
3 Small Ways To See Big Savings On Your Water Bill
7 Ways To Save On Groceries Without Cutting Coupons
4 Creative Ways To Reinvent Your Leftovers
How To Handle Unexpected Expenses
Quick Start Guide To The Cash Envelope System
Our $200 Grocery Budget: How To Start Building a Grocery Stockpile


Make a plan and act

When you find yourself struggling to get by, you need to make a plan and act on it. First, make a list of your expenses and income.

If you need help creating a budget, check out this post on 5 Steps to Creating a Budget.

Next, go on a financial purging spree. Start to cut back on the things you don’t need and bring down your monthly expenses. This is where you want to look at getting rid of cable, cars that are still being paid, memberships, etc.

You also need to make a plan for the future. If your income was cut back due to a job loss, figure out what you can do now to get back in a better financial position.

Start applying for jobs and updating your work skills. You may also want to consider starting your own home business to start bringing in some income. Any little bit helps, so don’t disregard the power of entrepreneurship.

Check out these articles to get some ideas:

5 Business Ideas For Moms
4 Steps To Take To Become A Virtual Assistant
5 Ways To Earn An Income Online

I know that things can be scary, but remember that it won’t be like this forever. This is a good time to reflect on the things that truly matter. If it weren’t for losing one of our incomes, I would probably still be spending money frivolously and working long hours for someone else instead of starting my own business.

Do you have any tips or resources to add? I would love to hear from you! We are all here to help and encourage each other.

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  1. Richard Buse says:

    Great advice. Thanks for sharing this. This response may be off-topic, but maintaining financial discipline once income rises again can be difficult. I think it’s okay to just enjoy some of that extra money right away, but it’s also important to be intentional about saving and investing most of that additional income.

  2. Gabi says:

    Thank you Jesenia, I can’t wait to look through your links! We’ve started our food stockpile 4 years ago so we are more experienced in that area. I’ve been thinking about the cash envelope system for a while and working towards implementing that in the coming months. Our heating bill is astronomical and it’s killing us financially bcuz of poor insulation but moving is not an option atm. so next month we need to invest in some insulation for our windows and prep for winter. I was thinking covering them up with bubblewrap and I need to make some thermal curtains and get some foam for the I insulated spots in our walls.. We’ll see how that goes.. Thanks for the great resources 🙂

  3. Oooohhhhh wants vs. needs. It took me a while to really see the difference between the two when I was in college. Thankfully, I’m a big girl now and only buy things when I really need them. haha I agree that it’s important to evaluate whether or not your decisions are helping you get ahead.

  4. Well written! I’d add that every penny saved – and earned – adds up! I know that searching on Bing and Swagbucks, answering surveys and shopping sales allowed me to completely pay for our Christmas last year. Like you said, make a plan and get creative. You’re not alone – and you can do it!