11 Drastic Steps to Take When You’re Out of Money

Extreme Frugality Hacks for When You’re Broke – these drastic ways to save money will get you out of money trouble. You can stop living paycheck to paycheck with these family finance tips and easy money saving strategies, even while living on a low income.

As I sit here tallying up living expenses against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, I can’t help but notice the pinch many of us feel in our wallets.

Leaving no room for doubt, navigating through these choppy financial waters demands bold action and a willingness to adopt some pretty hardcore money-saving practices.

I’m talking about the need to go to the extremes, exploring ways to slash costs that might have seemed too drastic in more forgiving economic times.

Fear not, though—you’re not facing this alone.

I’m about to walk you through 11 intense, life-altering strategies that can make a world of difference when you’re out of money. Be warned – the most common reaction to these suggestions is… NO.

But sometimes, when you’re out of money, the situation calls for drastic measures. (That is, if you don’t want to be out of money forever.)

So, strap in and prepare to shift your budget into overdrive toward a future of enhanced savings and financial peace of mind.

1. Redefine Your Living Space

I’ve seen firsthand just how much money you can keep in your bank account by simply reassessing your living situation.

Downsizing to a smaller home or heading somewhere where the cost of living doesn’t take a sledgehammer to your wallet can make a world of difference. It’s the NUMBER ONE THING most people can do to stop the bleeding when money is a problem.

It’s not just about paying less rent or a lower mortgage; it slashes utility bills, maintenance costs, and even the temptation to fill up extra space with things you don’t need.

And trust me, adopting a minimalist approach not only clears out physical space, it also brings mental clarity about what’s truly essential.

Then there’s geoarbitrage, which is a fancy way of saying you relocate to make your money stretch further.

Perhaps it’s moving from a bustling city to a serene countryside, or even to another country with a favorable exchange rate. This move might be radical, but the financial breathing room it offers can be staggering. Beyond just the everyday savings, think about the impact on your long-term goals. You could accelerate your savings, build your nest egg, or even retire years ahead of schedule. All from making that bold choice to live where your dollars go the distance.

2. Get a Phone You Can Afford

I pay $50 per month for my phone.

If you don’t have $50, then that’s too much for you to pay.

This is something no one wants to do, but downgrading your phone is essential if you can’t pay for the phone you have.

If the phone in your hand is costing you hundreds of dollars per month, sell it, pay it out, and buy what you can afford.

That might mean a flip phone with a $10 texting plan for a while. (Yes, they still sell flip phones in 2024.)

I’m mostly kidding. You can probably get an old used iphone for $50 and get it a $20 data only plan. Look into your options.

3. Revolutionize Your Commute

I won’t lie to you—letting go of that flashy car in the driveway can feel like saying goodbye to a piece of your identity.

But the moment I traded my gas-guzzler for carpooling options and public transit, my bank account started breathing a sigh of relief.

Not only did my transportation costs plummet, but I also skipped out on the relentless money drain of insurance, maintenance, and surprise repair bills.

The math is simple: fewer cars, less money spent.

It’s one choice that boasts both financial and environmental payoffs as I reduce my carbon footprint and embrace a greener way of life.

Adjusting doesn’t have to be a hassle, either. With a bit of planning, I found fellow commuters headed in the same direction and now we share rides—and stories—making traffic jams more bearable.

Public transit took a bit of getting used to. I learned the schedules, snagged a transit pass, and now use my commute to catch up on reading or podcasts. It reminds me that slowing down doesn’t mean stepping back—it means moving forward with intention and, undoubtedly, more dollars in my pocket.

For the socially inclined, carpooling brings new connections and even networking opportunities. It turns out some of the best conversations happen when you’re saving money and the planet, one ride at a time. Remember, changing how we commute is not just a personal cost-cutter; it’s a communal step towards a cleaner, more connected society.

4. Stop the Subscription Surge

You knew it was coming. You knew I would say this.

I get it, subscriptions are convenient. But if you can’t afford them you CAN’T AFFORD THEM.

Take a hard look at those monthly dings on your bank statement; from streaming services to apps, they add up faster than you might think.

So here’s a plan to halt that subscription surge and keep more of your hard-earned money.

  • Audit Your Automatic Offerings: List out every single recurring charge—no matter how small. You might just find a subscription you forgot you had (like that premium dog yoga channel).
  • Decide, Really Decide: For each subscription, ask yourself, how often do you use it? If the answer is ‘not much,’ it’s time for it to go. Hit cancel and enjoy the instant savings.
  • Alternate Entertainment Avenues: Swap those paid channels for free alternatives. Libraries offer free digital apps with books, music, and movies. Dust off that library card and explore the free entertainment universe.

Enact these simple changes, and you’ll see your monthly outgoings shrink.

With a bit of diligence, you can redirect those funds to where they matter most—your financial future. Remember, every subscription you cut is not just a monthly charge saved; it’s a step towards your financial independence.

5. Curb Culinary Expenditures

Dining out regularly can really whittle down your wallet. If you’re out of money, you can’t afford to eat out.

It’s amazing how much you save by preparing meals with a weekly plan in hand. You control the ingredients, portions, and, most importantly, your spending.

So, start experimenting with recipes and find joy in the craft of cooking. Remember, those meal kits that deliver to your doorstep are convenient, but they can be pricey, too. Hit your local farmers’ market or grocery store and get fresh ingredients; your bank account will thank you later.

Meal planning takes a bit of effort at the start, but it pays off. At the beginning of the week, lay out what you’ll eat each day and use that to create a shopping list. Stick to it. This stops those impromptu purchases – the ones that happen when hunger strikes and you’re cruising the grocery store aisles without a plan. Home cooking often means leftovers as well, and who doesn’t love a ready-to-eat meal that just needs a quick warm-up? It’s the ultimate blend of efficiency and thriftiness.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves—eating out can be a treat, a way to unwind, and a social activity, but if you’re serious about saving, it’s time to trade short-lived convenience for substantial, long-term savings. Invite friends over for a potluck, host a cook-off challenge, or simply enjoy a quiet evening in.

Home is where the savings are, and with every meal made in your kitchen, you step closer to your financial goals.

6. Prune Pricey Pastimes

I’ve been there, spending heaps on hobbies that drain my wallet faster than a leaking faucet.

I bet you’ve felt the pinch, too, when you tally up what you’ve spent on those model trains, upscale golf clubs, or even those weekend getaways that seem harmless at the time. Yet, cutting back on these luxuries can be a game-changer for our savings goals.

Sure, I adore a good adventure and the thrill of a new experience, but my bank account isn’t always as enthusiastic.

So I started swapping out those costly escapes for more wallet-friendly ventures. Hiking local trails instead of jet-setting to faraway mountains, or hosting a board game night in lieu of that pricey concert, can still provide a hefty dose of enjoyment. Getting creative with leisure doesn’t have to mean dull weekends—it means more cash to pump up that emergency fund or buffer for future investments.

Each dollar diverted from fleeting pleasures to long-term savings has a compounding effect, building financial strength like a steady workout for your wallet. Embarking on this path, you’ll see your financial resilience muscle up as those lavish pastimes turn into funds that nurture your nest egg, enabling dreams far grander than the fleeting thrill of a spontaneous splurge.

7. Turn to Cash Transactions

Swapping plastic for paper might just be one of the smartest money moves I’ve made.

There’s something about handing over cold, hard cash that hits differently than swiping a card. Cash keeps me honest; it’s tangible proof of my spending and a natural brake on impulsive buys. I can’t ignore my budget when I literally see the money leaving my wallet.

To get started, I’d suggest withdrawing a set amount of cash for the week — that’s your spending limit, full stop.

Divvy it up for groceries, gas, and a tiny slice for treats; when it’s gone, that’s it until next week. This self-imposed cash diet forces me to think twice before I buy. No more ‘add to cart’ without considering the consequences.

Moreover, adopting a cash-only habit means saying goodbye to credit card interest. Spending money I already have keeps me out of debt and on track for financial goals. Trust me, watching a savings account grow is far more satisfying than any fleeting joy from online shopping sprees.

8.Budget Like a Spartan

Now, I’m no ancient warrior, but when it comes to saving money, you’ve got to budget like a Spartan—fierce, lean, and without excess.

It means drawing up a plan and sticking to it with the discipline of a soldier.

No detours, no ‘just this once’ slip-ups, because one little impulse buy can snowball into an avalanche of debt.

Here’s how I keep my financial shield up: every dollar that comes in gets a battle station, a purpose.

Not a cent goes to ‘miscellaneous’ because that’s just a sneaky term for ‘I’ll spend it on something I forgot I wanted.’ And when I feel the siren’s call of a sale or a new gadget, I take a moment. I ask myself, ‘Do I need it, or do I want it?’ Needs get funds; wants get the cold shoulder.

Another trick is to delay the purchase. Give it a week, maybe even a month. Still thinking about it? Still need it? If the answer isn’t a flaming sword of ‘yes,’ don’t buy it.

Slay the temptation before it breaches your budget’s walls. These steps help keep my spending in check and my savings on the rise. Call it extreme if you want, but I call it winning the war on waste.

9. Obliterate Overbearing Debts

Let’s talk about smashing those high-interest debts into oblivion.

I find that the faster you peel off that burdensome debt, the sooner you’ll breathe easier and enjoy financial liberation. The prime target should always be the high-interest debts—these are the leeches draining your financial vitality. Make extra payments whenever possible to stop the interest from ballooning.

Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) might just be your ally if you’re grappling with federal student loans. This gem forgives the remaining balance of your direct loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Imagine wiping your slate clean of student debt and moving full speed ahead towards your savings goals. But remember, this program has requirements that must be strictly met, so keep meticulous records and ensure you’re on the right track.

Another savvy play is refinancing. This move can consolidate your debts into a single payment with a lower interest rate. It’s like downsizing your debt obligations so you can funnel more cash into your savings or investments. But tread carefully and crunch those numbers; refinancing should save you money and align with your long-term financial blueprint.

By tackling your debts with precision and strategy, you unlock the chains of financial strain.

Liberating yourself from debt doesn’t just mean having extra cash; it’s about reclaiming control and charting a course towards a future replete with possibilities and stability.

10. Earn More Money

You might already be working 40 hours per week, and to be honest, if you DO half the things on this list, the money you make in 40 hours might just become enough.

But it is far easier to make more money than to spend less money.

Get a second job or start a side hustle.

11. Sell Your Things

If you can’t find a way to earn more money quickly, sell the things you already have. Any or all of them, if that’s what you need to do.

Start with a higher asking price than you originally thought you’d get, and if you don’t get that price within a couple days, come down.

More than once I’ve sold things on Marketplace and they’ve been snatched up SO fast, I didn’t realize until after the sale was made that I could have asked for more. So now I start just a little high.

The Final Cut: Mastering Your Economic Destiny

Embarking on this tight-budget journey might strike you as intimidating, yet it’s a path brimming with opportunity for financial fortitude.

Taking such bold steps towards your spending can truly transform your fiscal landscape.

Commit to these practices, and you’ll marvel at the immediate and long-term dividends they pay.

Ditching the lofty living space, swapping credit for tangible cash, and slicing away at those sneaky subscriptions – it all adds up.

Imagine the tranquility that comes from dining in, indulging in low-cost leisure, and the sheer exhilaration of watching debts dissolve. This isn’t merely about penny-pinching; it’s about channeling your resources with precision to secure your economic future.

Let this serve as your roadmap to monetary mastery. You have the power, right at your fingertips, to reclaim control and steer your financial ship to safer waters. Steel your resolve, sharpen your budgeting skills, and take these steps to heart. The rewards of a balanced budget, the joys of a debt-free life, and the peace that comes from knowing you’re prepared for whatever lies ahead are within reach. With discipline, focus, and a dash of courage, you’re not just surviving the economic tide – you’re thriving in it.

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