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Coping with the Cost of Living

Middle Class Dad how to get your spouse to stick to a budget bio

If you’re feeling the financial squeeze these days, you’re far from alone. Prices are up while salaries are stagnant, and people are having to make moves to lessen inflation’s grip on their finances – and emotional state. So, with that said, here’s how you can cope with the cost of living.

The Issue

From healthcare to transportation, housing, and groceries, the price of everything has gone up, with no end in sight. And it’s taking a toll on our budgets as well as our collective psyche. Almost half of respondents to a recent TD Ameritrade survey, for example, said the chief threat to their financial future is the still-increasing cost of living. However, there are things you can do to counter that increase.

Seek Out Personal Finance Education

Use this opportunity to bone up on personal finance, and maybe learn some things you didn’t know that can not only help you through the current economic environment but can benefit you going forward. Check out personal finance blogs, download a financial literacy app, or take a free online personal finance course to hone your money-management skills.

Slash Your Spending

If saving money seems futile when the cost of everything seems sky high, and your salary hasn’t increased commensurately, then you must find ways to spend less. There are many ways to achieve this: stop with the daily frou-frou coffees, curb dining out, find ways to lower your utility bills, ditch those subscriptions you don’t use, drop cable or switch to the basic package, etc.

You should also make a monthly budget to see where your money is going and where you can cut back. You may be surprised by how much money you’re able to put away if you work at it. At the same time, you’ll be developing better spending habits. There are many budgeting methods, so select one that suits you, leaving room for “wants” as well as “needs” so you’ll stick with it. If you want to automate the process, go with a budgeting app.

If your debts are mounting, though, and your situation has become more acute, you may want to seek debt resolution through

Bring More Money In

So, as we say, prices are up, but wages are not. Therefore, it may be time to put in for a raise or even look for a better-paying job. Maybe it’s time to upgrade or develop skills that will enable you to land the position you want. Sometimes things out of our control can force our hand, which may ultimately turn out for the better in the long run.

Barring those options, you can develop a side hustle. Perhaps you have a hobby you can monetize or maybe you can start freelancing. Maybe pet-sitting is an option. If so, websites such as Rover can line you up with area gigs. Or you can become a rideshare driver or use your vehicle for deliveries.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you enjoy so you won’t feel so badly about toiling extra hours.

Consider Relocating

If you’ve done all you can and your budget remains tight, it may be time for you to mull a move to a more affordable location, perhaps a city or state where the cost of living is lower. Moving can be a pain, but perhaps the short-term sting will be worth it in the long run.

Ultimately, coping with the cost of living requires taking a clear-eyed view of your financial situation, then using a bit of ingenuity to figure out ways to stay above water. In the process, you’ll also develop healthier habits that will benefit you over the long haul.

Jeff Campbell