There are lots of reasons why you might feel broke or like you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Maybe you eat out way too often, spend too much on clothes, or perhaps you live in a high-cost area where housing is outrageously expensive (I’m looking at you: San Francisco and New York City).
Regardless of the reasons your money is so tight, there are some quick and easy ways to fix some of your money problems.
Here are 5 money tricks you can use to stop feeling so broke.
Use windfalls wisely
A windfall is any extra lump sum of money that comes your way. A Powerball jackpot would be nice, but let’s be realistic.
I’m talking about more common “windfalls” like a bonus from work, an insurance settlement, a divorce payout, an inheritance, or even your yearly income tax refund. Using those windfalls wisely – by paying off debt or building up your emergency savings – can help you avoid being constantly broke.
Give yourself an instant raise
Speaking of income tax refunds, the IRS says the average tax refund is about $3,000. The good news is: you don’t have to wait every year to get your money back from Uncle Sam. Get that cash now simply by adjusting your W-4 withholdings at work.
Here’s what to do: just increase the number of allowances you’re claiming. That will decrease the amount of taxes being taken from your paycheck.
If you do get a $3,000 refund, adjusting your withholdings will add around $250 per month to your paycheck. Instead of overpaying your taxes, you’re giving yourself an instant ‘raise’ – which can make you feel a lot less broke.
Start a side hustle
Small business owners and freelancers are increasingly driving the American economy. If you feel broke because your current job isn’t paying enough, or maybe because you don’t even have a job, start a side hustle or an entrepreneurial gig.
It can be anything: writing/editing, building websites, tutoring, or maybe selling hand-made art. Wherever you have skills, put them to use, especially by turning hobbies into cash.
Take advantage of freebies
Instead of focusing on all the things you can’t do because your pockets are empty, re-direct your thoughts and activities to all the free resources and freebies around you.
Go to local parks, visit museums and zoos on their free days, or simply organize game nights where you sit around playing board games or just talking with friends.
Stay off social media
The average adult in America spends about two hours a day on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That’s one of the worst possible things you can do when you’re feeling broke.
Obsessing online about what other people have done or bought, or where they’ve traveled, is only going to make you feel jealous — or perhaps even tempted to spend money trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Not a good idea.
Also, most people’s activity on social media is for pure entertainment, socializing online or just mindless browsing. All that time wasted could be better spent on more productive things – like figuring out creative ways to make or save money.
So do yourself a favor and stay off social media, or at least drastically cut down on it. The exception: do build up your LinkedIn profile – and feel free to use that platform or others for job-hunting, networking and business related activities.
Follow these five money tricks and tips and you won’t feel so broke all the time.