At some point in time, I think most people experience financial stress.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a broke college student, young adult, or are dealing with some sort of debt or major expense in your life; money can be tough sometimes.
Now, unfortunately, I think there are also times in many people’s life when they are flat out broke.
Again, this can happen for a variety of reasons, but it’s definitely a major stressor and not an ideal situation for anyone.
So, if you’re sick of having no money, it’s important to make some changes for your financial, mental, and physical well being.
If you’re wondering what to do when you are completely broke, use this 12 step list as a way to get your finances back on track!
What To Do When You Have No Money – 12 Ideas To Get Back On Track
If you’re sick of not having money, there are some immediate and impactful changes you can make to start getting back on track.
However, I also want to chime in and say that this post isn’t meant to be judgemental or harsh.
After all, there’s a wide range of reasons for financial troubles and some things are simply out of our control.
But, this post is going to focus on aspects we can control, so let’s get to it!
1. Create A Budget
If you’re tired of being broke but don’t have a budget, you’ve actually lost the right to complain in many ways.
A budget is the absolute foundation for wealth building.
Without a budget, you have zero idea about where your money is going each month.
You also have no clue about your fixed expenses or spending categories that are giving you some trouble.
So, the first step to get back on track when you’re broke is to start with the basics.
For me, a simple Excel spreadsheet is how I track my monthly fixed and variable expeneses:
Now, this might seem counter productive since you don’t have much money to begin with, but trust me, this is important.
When I was a student, I started working at Starbucks and an advertising agency to pay for tuition and bills.
Even though I didn’t have a lot of descretionary income, a budget helped me identify some problem areas of spending (food and beer) and helped me cut back on spending.
So, if you’re sick of having no money, track your spending for the month and look for any problem areas where you can cut back.
2. Try A Side Gig
If you’re currently unemployed, finding some sort of stable employment is probably the first goal if you’re able to work.
Even if it’s a basic job you don’t like, having regular income is the first step to get back on track with your finances.
Now, if you’re still struggling financially and have a budget, the next thing you can try is boosting your income.
Starting a side hustle is one of the best ways to create more disposable income for yourself, which you can use to pay down bills, chip away at debt, and buy groceries each month.
Some popular side gigs you can consider include:
- Delivering food for DoorDash or Uber Eats (you can even do this by bike!)
- Trying gig apps like walking dogs with Rover.
- Offer a local service, like babysitting or tutoring.
- Try handyman tasks with apps like Taskrabbit.
- Trying out microtask websites to make some spare cash.
When my friend was trying to make ends meet living in Toronto, he ended up biking for DoorDash and Uber Eats to make extra money:
You get the idea, and every little bit helps.
At one point when I was in college, I was working a 40 hour paid internship, an online job for an advertising agency, and I was starting my blog to make extra cash.
It was exhausting at points, but it definitely helped aleviate some financial stress.
3. Look For Help
If you’re tired of struggling financially, you might be able to get a quick leg up if you search for programs that assist lower income households and individuals.
There’s already a variety of government programs for low income households, including:
- Supplemental Nutrition Asisstance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
- Medicaid and health insurance marketplaces.
- Educational grants and scholarships.
- Subsidized housing.
- Social security income for low-income seniors and adults with disabilities.
- Welfare and TANF.
You can also look for city-specific programs in your area, or visit a local Goodwill or humanitarian shelter for information.
The point is, if you’re truly broke and sturggling, there are resources that are there to help.
They might not fix everything, but don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it.
Extra Reading – Freebies For Students To Make Life Easier.
4. Eliminate Vices
If sick of being broke but still spend a lot of your money on vices, you once again have lost some of the right to complain.
Unless you’re dealing with an addiction, there’s absolutely no reason to spend money on certain vices if you’re broke.
Some examples include:
- Lottery tickets and gambling.
Again, all three of these categories can be addictions, so this is admiteddly a tough category to talk about.
This is just one of those things where if you need to be brutally honest with yourself and to cut back on a certain category of spending, that’s just how it is.
5. Live Like A Minamalist
Minamalism is becoming more popular these days.
In fact, you’ve probably seen some memes of San Fransisco milennials who make $120,000 a year as a software engineer but insist on living in an empty apartment.
While this is a funny, you also have to admit that living like a minamalist has some inherent financial advantages.
I mean, you’re theoretically buying fewer material things, so that’s an immediate way to save money.
A lot of minamalists also try to derive enjoyment from what already exists around them, like nature or spending time with friends and family.
Call it corny, but hey, maybe switching up your mentality a bit could help you if you’re currently broke!
6. Pickup A Second Job
Like starting a side gig, picking up a second job is a great thing to do when you have no money.
This is essentially trading more of your time for more money, which is admiteddly difficult if you have other responsibilities and a packed work week.
However, the sacrifice might be worth it for a couple of weeks or months if you really need the money.
Ideally, your second job has a flexible schedule or set hours that don’t interfere with your primary job.
If this doesn’t work, you can also try asking for more shifts or picking up overtime whenever possible to make some extra cash each month.
7. Learn Basic Financial Literacy
It’s honestly a shame that basic financial literacy isn’t taught in schools.
This is, in my opinion, why things like budgeting and learning to deal with debt are challenging for millions of people.
However, the bright side is that it’s never been easier to learn some basic financial skills for free thanks to the internet and your local library.
Now, I’ve made a YouTube video on some of my favorite personal finance books that have changed my life, and I definitely recommend giving it a watch!
You can also research a wealth of information online just by Googling other personal finance blogs! 🙂
My advice is to take one afternoon that you have off and to spend some time reading and making notes.
This might sound like homework, but I think it’s a great idea if you’re sick and tired of being broke and want to make some changes.
8. Build An Emergency Fund
It might sound like a bit ridiculous to say that saving money is what you should do if you’re completely broke.
However, it’s important to build a dedicated emergency fund over time that can cover a few months of expenses or unexpected expenses if disaster strikes.
I mean, picture a world in which you’re broke and your car breaks down.
If you don’t have an emergency fund, this means putting repairs on credit or, even worse, turning to payday loans.
These interest rates then make matters worse, and all of a sudden, you’re struggling with debt because you couldn’t pay for a $600 car repair out of pocket.
Building an emergency fund is tough when you’re living on a low income, but it’s important to slowly chip away at this goal. Even if you can put away $20 or $50 per month and slowly grow that amount, it’s important.
Park this money in a basic savings account and don’t touch the money unless you absolutely need to.
You can also consider opening a CIT Savings Builder account to park your money since this has a better interest rate than your average savings account.
You need a $100 minimum to open an account, but this is a great way to start building an emergency fund and to benefit from a higher interest rate.
9. Figure Out Debt
If bad debt is the reason you’re struggling to make ends meet, you need to figure out a debt repayment strategy.
One option is to start chipping away at debt slowly by using a debt payoff method.
Two popular options include:
- The Debt Snowball Method. Popularized by Dave Ramsey, this method involves paying off your smallest debts first and to accelerate those payments into larger payments.
- The Avalanche Method. This method involves paying off your highest interest debts first. This is mathematically a smart way to go about debt, although the snowball method makes it easier to get excited since you pay off small debts quickly.
If you’re absolutely drowning in debt, you can also look into debt consolidation options if it makes sense and secures a better interest rate.
Finally, you can also checkout apps like Tally to help get your credit card debt under control.
Tally gives you a credit line you can use to paydown debt, with the idea being you get a better rate than brutally high interest credit debt.
According to Tally, the average user saves $5,300 in their lifetime by using the platform.
10. Take Responsibility
One of the best things to do when you don’t have money is to also take some responsibility and action.
Even if bad luck or outside events have put you in a tough spot, it’s up to you to make a gameplan and to work to get things back on track.
Try to stay optimistic, and write out your plan for getting back on track financially.
Even if you start with small goals, the important part is to actually set some goals and to begin working towards them.
11. Don’t Neglect Your Health
Another important aspect out of all of this is to never neglect your mental and physical health.
This is, admittedly, very tough to do, especially if your diet takes a hit because you’re struggling financially.
It’s important to try and eat a balanced diet that’s as affordable as possible. I mention some strategies for this on my post on how to save money in college.
It’s also important to stay active!
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or equipment to do this either; running outside or walking every day is a great way to ensure you’re getting some steps in.
If you need some motivation, you can also checkout numerous apps that pay you for working out for some added encouragement.
Extra Reading – StepBet Review 2020 – Get Paid For Walking!
12. Try An Under The Table Job
Under the table jobs that pay cash are, in fairness, a tad sketchy.
However, if you can find an occasional odd-job in your neighborhood, the cash can definitely help.
People need help all the time with things like landscaping, junk removal, cleaning, and other random gigs you’ll see posted on websites like Craigslist.
If you find a decent paying job in your area and have some free time, the effort could be worth the extra cash.
Extra Reading – 27 Apps That Pay You To Drive.
Financial stress is one of the most common forms of stress, and if you’ve ever worried about money, you know the feeling.
Thankfully, if your sick of having no money, you have options to get back on track!
Between financial assistance programs, the gig economy, and tightening up on spending, it’s possible to slowly to build up your wealth over time and to start chipping away at debt.
You might not know what to do when you are completely broke, but the truly important thing is to start somewhere.
As long as you create a gameplan and stick to it, you’ll make progress over time.
Best of luck, and don’t give up!
I’ll catch you guys in the next one.
Tom is a 23 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please visit Tom Blake Digital to get in touch!