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Hunkering Down: How to Deal With Little or No Income

I’ve always had an aversion to be completely broke. It terrifies me, the idea of having bills rolling in and no money to pay them with. As a result there are levels of employment that I’d be happy to consider that others wouldn’t. If I had to go flip burgers for awhile to make ends meat (haha see what I did there?), I’d step up to the plate, swallow my pride, and do it. When I was laid off from my job in Financial Services, I had a choice to make. I could go back to a traditional nine to give grind and be chained to my desk all day again, or I could try and create a business for myself.

It wasn’t an easy answer. On one hand I detested sitting in my cubicle all day, watching the gorgeous days roll by while I plucked away at my computer and spoke to advisers and shareholders on the phone. I didn’t want to go back, but I also wanted financial security. I wanted to look at my numbers for the end of the month and see a surplus, wanted to build my nest egg, wanted to build a travel fund. I’d have to sacrifice all of these things for awhile, for some period of time unknown, and start from scratch. Ultimately I decided to do what I felt was the right thing, I left the daily grind and struck it out on my own.

Here’s how I manage my expenses currently

  • Minimums on all Debt: I don’t recommend this if you have any credit card debt to speak of, but car loans, mortgage (if you have one, I don’t), student loans, anything with relatively low interest. You’ll need that extra income for now.
  • Cut out all extra expenses: Eating out? Gone. Gamefly? Toast. Cut out the fat wherever you can, as you’re gonna be running on lean times.
  • If Possible, Still Save Emergency Funds: I was adamant about maintaining my emergency fund throughout this period, as I believe I could need it if work dries up for awhile. Also consider putting just a little bit each week for your own entertainment. You need to get out and have fun sometimes, ya know? (Be careful and only do as your budget allows, however!)

So far it’s been a tough road, but also quite an educational experience in terms of taxes and managing my money. It’s important to know how to strip your finances down to a critical mass when times are lean, so you can be ready for anything.

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