As the rain poured outside, Zaria sat at her small kitchen table, surrounded by stacks of bills and overdue notices. Despite working full-time as a therapist at the local community mental health center and a part-time job at Domino's, the cost of rent, utilities, childcare, and those God forsaken student loans seemed to keep increasing while her wages remained stagnant. The weight of financial stress bore down on her shoulders like a heavy burden, and each day felt like a constant struggle to keep her family afloat.
Darius worked tirelessly as a mechanic at the local car dealership, trying to support himself and two daughters after their mother walked out on them. You'd think being a mechanic would be sufficient enough cover their basic expenses. But more often than not, Mike found himself making tough choices between paying bills and buying groceries. He makes just enough to price him out of qualifying for any public assistance yet not enough to avoid the having "more month than money" trap. What's worse, the heating unit in his home just went out and he's not the right kind of mechanic for this kind of repair. Where will he find the money?
Barely making ends meet takes a mental toll. Constantly having more month than money not only affects our mental well-being but also our physical well-being, causing a sense of constant financial strain and anxiety. If you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck without any savings at the end of each month, it's likely that you could benefit from improving your money management skills. While breaking free from the cycle of barely making ends meet is undoubtedly challenging, it is not an impossible feat. Getting our financial house in order during this economic downturn will require budgeting, seeking additional income opportunities, and implementing effective money management strategies to improve our financial stability and quality of life.
Tip #1: Make a budget every month
50-60Understanding your financial situation requires taking inventory of your finances. This is not a one and done thing. To repair your relationship with money and escape the "more month than money" trap, it's crucial to know the truth about your financial situation. Creating a structured budget will help you track the flow of money into and out of your home. By analyzing your spending, you can identify areas where adjustments are needed to achieve a balanced financial situation and improve your financial wellness. So where is your money? In the bank? In a savings account? In a money market account? Or is it in the box in the top of your closet marked Christmas decorations? Take inventory of your cash flow in. Then gather all of your bills. I get that in today's technologically advanced civilization, this may require you to log in to your bank account and check on those auto drafts. Write it on paper or type it into an Excel spreadsheet. A recommendation that have served me well is the Spending Plan introduced in Ramit Sethi's, "I Will Teach You to be Rich." In his book, he suggests 50-60% of your income should go towards fixed costs such as rent, utilities, and student loans; 10% of your income should go towards investments; 5-10% of your income should go towards emergency fund and savings; and 20-35% should be guilt free spending money like dining out, drinking, movies, clothes, shoes, etc. These percentages are not definitive, set in stone and you can play around with the percentages. The purpose is to give you a clear picture of what is coming in and what is going out. Then you can make any necessary cuts or adjustments.
Tip #2: Learn how to self-soothe...without money
Shifting our money mindset is crucial for long-term stress management and financial wellness. In my article on oniomania, we discussed the various reasons people find themselves falling prey to the shopaholic mindset. People shop and overspend for various reasons. Some are seeking relief from strong emotions. Some a seeking to get an adrenaline rush. Some just have poor boundaries and try to buy other's affections. None of these are good. You have to find other ways to self-soothe that doesn't require you to spend money.
Spending time in nature can be a powerful stress-reliever. Whether it's taking a walk in a nearby park, hiking a local trail, or simply sitting outside and appreciating the beauty of nature, connecting with the natural world can provide a sense of peace and perspective.
Practice Deep Breathing:
Engage in Physical Activity:
Listen to Music:
Laugh and Smile:
Tip #3: Hire Your Money
To disrupt the more month than money cycle we have to have expendable income. The reality is that sometimes our income isn't sufficient due to being underpaid or facing inflation and increasing living costs. There are numerous ways to earn extra money. Besides getting a part-time job, other options include selling items on platforms like Etsy or Amazon; offering services like babysitting, dog-sitting, or house-sitting, baking goods, providing car detailing services, performing yard work; starting a YouTube channel or blog; monetizing social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram; creating and selling jewelry or T-shirt designs; driving for ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft; becoming an Instacart affiliate; or completing assignments on platforms like DoorDash. For those with specific skills, freelancing on Fiverr or starting a side business can also be profitable. Below, I'll share a few of the ways I've personally earned extra money (and yes, affiliate links may follow, any support is greatly appreciated!).
Okay you guys. I have absolutely enjoyed using Upside over the past year. I signed up I believe July 2022. Being from a rural area, it is a little trickier to utilize as the rural doesn't have a robust scene of gas stations and restaurants to choose from. However, I have been able to make do. With Upside, I have been able to get cash back on purchases (that I was already going to make anyway). Now I want to share it with you because on May 8, 2023, I was able to cash out $58.66. Currently, my account balance on Upside is back up to $15.79. Again, I'm in the rural so I am not breaking the bank, but every little bit helps. So how does it work? Sign-up with my Upside referral link. Input promo code NT3G8 to get an extra $0.15/gal bonus the first time you make a purchase. You will link your credit or debit card to the app (I personally only use a credit card which we will talk about more later in this article). Search the app for offers (gasoline stations and restaurants). Check-in on the app to let it know that you are at the gas station or restaurant. Shop using your linked card (their system verifies with the merchant so please be sure to use the same card you linked to the app). Upload a copy of your receipt to the app (however, if you check-in/claim offer, it rarely asks for you to upload the receipt). Receive cash back that you can cash out and send directly to your bank account, a PayPal account, or exchange for gift cards. https://upside.app.link/NT3G8
Disclaimer: I will receive a nod from Upside for any person who signs up using my link/promo code. However, once you have signed up, you too will be assigned a referral link/promo code and will have the ability to refer others too.
I have been a user of Swagbucks since July 2013 (hey I am noticing a pattern here with the month of July lol). To be honest, I don't even use Swagbucks to its fullest extent. Otherwise, I'd have earned much more than I actually have. Swagbucks started as one of those survey companies. Hey, there was big business with surveys because companies desperately want your opinion, and they are willing to pay for it. I rarely ever use the survey feature. I instead, have mainly earned free gift cards and cash for the everyday things I was already going to do. Say I want to make a purchase with Amazon or Wal-mart or book a hotel. I'd simply search for them on Swagbucks' site and get rewarded for booking through the link. Primarily using this method, I have cashed out $453.00. There are also other ways you can earn Swagbucks (SB). You can shop in-store or online and upload your receipts, watch entertaining videos, play games, participate in Swagbucks daily trivia game, use Swagbucks as your search engine, answer surveys, refer others, and find great deals to earn points. You can then redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite retailers like Amazon or Walmart, to name a few, or get cash back from PayPal. To try it out, use my Swagbucks referral link to get started; if you sign-up using my link, we both will earn a bonus 300 SB. In case the URL link is broken, just copy and paste the following into your browser:
Now to reiterate how easy it is to earn Swagbucks, a few years ago, I had linked one of my credit cards (this is not a requirement like the Upside offer). One day recently (like in the past two months or so) I went to eat at Burger King and used that same card. I automatically received an email that I was being sent Swagbucks because I had used the credit card I had linked to my Swagbucks. I didn't have to upload or do anything extra. It was automatic.
Disclaimer: I will receive SB directly from Swagbucks for each person who signs up using my link. However, once you have signed up, you too will be assigned a unique referral link and will have the ability to earn SB for each person you refer.
It can be used for more than just sending money to friends or paying businesses for goods and services. I can't say for sure how long this program will last, but as of the writing of this article you can log into PayPal and refer friends, family, and others to their platform. If you sign up using my PayPal referral link, we both can earn $10 when you sign up and spend $5 within 30 days of signing up. There is a limit of 10 referrals per year. https://py.pl/iOBzJ
I have noticed that PayPal generally doesn't like when the link is posted in a public forum such as this. Rather, they prefer you email or text your link to your friends and family. So, if you use my link from here, I may not get credit AND you may not get credit either. If you do not already have a PayPal account and are interested in signing up, please shoot me an email and I will send it to you that way. And remember, when you refer others, remember to send your link directly to them either via email or text message rather than post on a public forum so that both you and your referrals can receive the cash bonus.
A service of PayPal, Venmo is also used for sending money to friends or paying businesses for goods and services. And like PayPal, as of the writing of this article you can log into Venmo and refer friends, family, and others to their platform. Just to test what the current offer is, I copied my own referral link and here is the message directly from Venmo:
Hi! Did you know you can use Venmo to send money, shop, and even earn rewards? We'll both earn $10 when you send at least $5 to another person on Venmo using a funding source linked to your account. Expires in 14 days.
Tap this referral link to start: https://get.venmo.com/PYdCTguhuBb
Terms apply: https://payp.al/ref
According to Venmo's terms, it appears that it allows for social media posts (unlike sister company Paypal). However, if you are like me and would rather be safe than sorry, shoot me an email and I will email this to you directly.
Yes, I have included a credit card (which is debt I know but bear with me). There is a responsible way to use a credit card. Personally, I use my Chase credit card to pay things I already have to pay for each month (gas, grocery, car insurance, cell phone bill, etc.) Rather than use cash or checks, I pay my bills with my credit card. Why is that? Cash back rewards. With my particular card, I earn 1% cash back for all purchases. Every quarter, I can earn 5% cash back on bonus categories selected by my card company. If you sign up using my Chase referral link, I will earn $50 if you get approved for a card. There are also perks for you. Select the card that fits your lifestyle and you in turn can earn $200 when you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from opening an account. https://www.referyourchasecard.com/18j/OF0N4OG60Y
With my Chase card, one of the things that I greatly appreciate is the ability to monitor my credit for free. But there is another thing that I like even more. Remember when I introduced you to Upside, I mentioned that we would talk more about how I link my credit card to upside to use? The card I primarily use is my Chase card. So not only do I earn cash back rewards with Upside, but I also earn cash back rewards on my credit card. And get this. There are quarters in which Chase selects gas stations for the bonus 5% cash back. So I'm earning both ways. Now if you do not have the willpower to not go on a swiping frenzy, please do not sign up for this offer. The bonus cash isn't worth the risk if you don't have the willpower to only use the card for gas and utilities.
Now that we have found you some methods to earn to extra moolah, this next offering will help you expand your horizons by having your money work for you. SoFi is a financial technology company and online bank headquartered in San Francisco, United States. It offers a range of financial products and services, including student and auto loan refinancing, mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, investing, and banking. These offerings are accessible through both mobile app and desktop interfaces. I personally hold my non-dividend paying stocks here. The interesting thing about SoFi is that they too have a referral program for which you can earn rewards. With their SoFi Invest, you can buy and sell stocks (or even pieces of stocks) with zero fees. When you use my SoFi referral link and fund an investment account with as little as $10, you'll receive $25 in stock. https://www.sofi.com/invite/invest?gcp=3374cbb8-5aeb-4e76-b767-de0140eecdac&isAliasGcp=false
Disclaimer: I will receive $50 in stock directly from SoFi for each person who signs up using my link. However, once you have signed up, you will not only receive $25 in stock but will also be assigned a unique referral link and will have the ability to earn $50 in stock each time you refer someone who signs up.
Google Opinion Rewards
Google Opinion Rewards primarily asks you about your recent shopping experiences. These surveys are quick, taking around 10 seconds to complete, and typically reward you with a few cents added to your account. By participating in surveys over a few weeks, you can accumulate enough Google survey rewards credit to spend in the Play Store. My experience with Google survey rewards has been that some questions are related to my online purchases but most of the other questions have been about my recent outings. I have earned enough to purchase at least one e-book. I currently have a balance of $6.87. Unlike the other offers I have shared with you (Swagbucks and Upside) Google Opinion Rewards do expire. So please be mindful and aware about this.
Download Google Opinion Rewards now: https://googleopinionrewards.page.link/share. To use Google Opinion Rewards, you will need to sign in with your regular Google account. After signing in, you will receive an initial "test" survey. This survey serves two purposes: ensuring you understand your role in this mutually beneficial arrangement and gathering demographic information. I also want to let you know that if you refer others to Google Opinion Rewards, you will not receive any type of referral bonus.
Surviving on the brink with barely enough to make ends meet, is a challenging journey that demands resilience, resourcefulness, unwavering determination, and a whole lot of self-care. Stress management and money are deeply intertwined, and the impact of financial stress on our well-being should not be underestimated. Making a budget each month, learning to self-soothe without using money, and hiring your money to make more money are essential components of achieving a balanced and stress-free financial life. Remember, finding balance in our financial lives is not just about numbers; it's about fostering a sense of security, control, and peace of mind for a fulfilling and happier future. I hope that this article has provided you with something useful as you embark on your wellness journey. Are there any opportunities you plan on signing up for? Do you have any personal income strategies that are working for you? Please share your thoughts or even advice you may have for us in the comments below. Again, as you begin this journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading.
"There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub." ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Here at EnvisionCo Blog, we try to keep ads to a minimum making our blog entirely reader-supported. We may feature links on this site for additional informational purposes. From time to time, we may feature other links which are affiliate links (and these will be clearly marked). When you click through an affiliate link on our site and sign up for a service or finalize a purchase, we may earn affiliate commissions. This is of course at no additional cost to you. However, if you like what you see and would like to make a donation to help us keep ads to a minimum, we would greatly appreciate it! Nothing fancy. We accept the price of a cup coffee with as much gratitude as we would the price of a tank of gas!