Living paycheck to paycheck or depending on payday loans for your daily expenses isn’t the ideal way to live,  yet it happens to many people. If you find yourself struggling to pay bills or provide for your family, it may be time to take a hard look at your finances. Here are a few hints to help you solve your fiscal issues.

Make a Budget

If you haven’t already, create a budget that shows you how much money you make and where it goes. Tracking your income and expenditures can help you determine if you’re spending too much between pay periods and need to bring in more money to help make ends meet. While you can use paper or a computer program like Excel for your budget, there are also many free budgeting apps that are simple to use and only require a smartphone.

Renegotiate Loan Terms

Consolidating your credit card balances could make it easier to reduce your interest rate and lower monthly payments. You might be able to renegotiate the terms of a car loan or other debt to make them easier to handle as well. Some creditors are even willing to forgive some or all of your debt balances, which could save hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Consider Filing for Bankruptcy

Those who have few or no assets may benefit from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A liquidation bankruptcy allows you to discharge most or all of your debts in a matter of weeks, though certain types of debt cannot be discharged by filing for bankruptcy. In most cases, if you owe your creditors anything after this, it’s only a small fraction of what you owed originally.

Stop Paying for Things You Don’t Use

If you find that you don’t watch a lot of cable television or most of what you watch is through Netflix or another subscription service, get rid of your cable or satellite TV. It’s a monthly expense that you’re not putting to use. If you’re only using it once or twice a month, you’re not using it enough to make the expense worthwhile.

Similarly, if you have a smartphone, but your plan with data costs over $100 every month, there are far cheaper plans you can get – even through big providers like AT&T – which cost significantly less. By switching your plan to a pay-as-you-go or prepaid plan (even with a smartphone and data), you could save a lot of money in the long run.

Find Ways to Save Wherever Possible

Look for other, lesser-known ways to save money. If your children need new clothes, try to find cheap deals online, or stop by a thrift store. Many thrift stores have quality clothing of all sizes that you can buy at a severely discounted price, and most of the clothing items are only lightly used. For projects around the house, consider renting tools rather than purchasing the item at full cost through a hardware store.

The members of your family depend on you to keep food on the table and a roof over their head. Do whatever it takes to secure both your long and short-term financial situation. By doing so, you’ll know that you’re not putting your family’s ability to live comfortably at risk.

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