Money makes life far easier than by trading for goods and services, producing them yourself, or going searching for them without help. Currency is a modern marvel, for the most part — financial insecurity is a source of stress, health problems, relationship issues, and other negative outcomes. A whopping 76 million United States citizens reported they were “struggling financially” or “barely getting by,” proving that no matter how hard you work, sometimes you can’t escape financial difficulty.

The financial gap between working- or middle-class Americans and the wealthy has widened for some time, and is doing so more rapidly than ever before. As such, it’s important to be financially conservative to have a secure life.

Below are several tips for living within your means that anybody can benefit from: young, old, college-educated, blue-collar, immigrants, and natives alike.

Write down regular cash inflows and outflows

Every month, we pay electric companies, cable providers, and credit card issuers — among many others — for their services. Because these are regular expenses, we know we’re going to incur them month after month. As such, write down your regular bills and normal income for a month’s time. Visualizing how much money is flowing around can help you better understand your finances.

Consider bankruptcy if you’re already in overwhelming debt

Some people are already in loads of debt, with no hopes out other than hitting the lottery or filing bankruptcy. While bankruptcy should always be avoided, talk to a bankruptcy attorney if finances are struggling. It could save you years of financial stress.

Build your own credentials

There’s no easy route to college degrees or professional certifications. However, putting work into building your potential is undoubtedly worth it. If you’re not old enough to be in a nursing home, it’s not too late to build your credentials up. Consider cutting back on work hours or foregoing some obligations to take time on for trade school, college, or other activities that can lift your financial potential.

Maintain an “emergency fund”

Everyone experiences an emergency at one time or another. Because emergencies don’t happen monthly, you can’t really budget for them. However, keeping three to six months of regular expenses saved — known financially as an emergency fund — can prevent subsequent struggles after emergencies happen.

Everyone wishes they could make enough money to never worry about finances again. However, the vast majority of people won’t ever live that lifestyle. You can promote financial security by putting the above tips into action in your fiscal life. Try it!

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