Anybody who has ever lived paycheck to paycheck knows they would never wish it on their worst enemy. Living in a state of constant stress and financial insecurity is not only uncomfortable but even physiologically deleterious; between stress-related hormonal changes and immune-system dysfunction, it becomes clear that we are not meant to endure stress indefinitely.
The unfortunate reality is that finances are a problem for many people today, in spite of the exorbitant wealth enjoyed by certain elite sectors of society. Often times, financial desperation only facilitates more desperation, and the downward spiral continues.
However, regardless of your situation, there are still plenty of things you can do to stave off debt and other forms of monetary tyranny.
Maintain Healthy Habits
This may seem like a silly suggestion, but there are very real monetary incentives for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Considering the average cost of a bypass surgery costs you well over $100,000, it puts a little pressure on you to do what you can to avoid such a situation.
Even if you do have health insurance, there’s no guaranteeing that it will cover what happens to go wrong with your body, so making your physical health a priority is a worthwhile endeavor.
Many people justify poor decisions all too eagerly by claiming that they “can’t afford healthy food” or they “don’t have enough time to exercise.” Chances are pretty good you can find healthy options within your budget. The same goes in regard to finding time to exercise. Even if it’s just a 30-minute walk a few times a week, your body will thank you.
If the life you are leading truly doesn’t allow you the freedom to choose a healthy lifestyle, choose a different job. Having money or whatever you are going after is pointless if you’re dead by the time you get it. You’d take care of a brand new car if you got it, so take care of your body because you only get one of them.
Get Out of Credit Card Debt
One of the worst types of debt you can dig yourself into is credit card debt. If you don’t make your monthly payments on time, you often get slammed with a massive interest rate.
Since you want to avoid this situation at all costs, make your payments in full every month and avoid using a credit card to make expensive purchases. If you already worked up a large balance, you may want to pay off your debt with a personal loan.
Create a Wealth Surplus
In order to live without persistent anxiety as opposed to treading water indefinitely, you need to be generating a surplus of wealth on a regular basis. As you consistently have money piling up in your bank account, you’ll begin to experience alleviation and freedom.
Rethink your lifestyle and adjust it so you are living slightly below your means. Cut out a few indulgences here and there and prepare to see your funds get out of the red and into the green. If you don’t already have automatic transfers to your bank account set up, by all means, do so.
Another useful strategy is to set aside a given sum at the start of every month and never dip into that money. This will be the money that you save. After you account for that amount, try your best to subsist off the remainder. This will sharpen your discipline and hone your money management skills.
Take Up a Side Hustle
One of the greatest advantages of work in 2018 is the freedom and convenience of picking up side jobs. While the switch to a “gig economy” may or may not be a sleight of hand by employers to avoid covering the costs of insurance for the workforce, it nonetheless allows you to fill empty hours with revenue-generating activities.
Hobbies like web design, coding, driving, music production, baking, painting, or just about anything else can be transformed into an opportunity to make you money. There are a number of apps dedicated to just such a concept, while the rise of coworking spaces allows you to cultivate your hobby in a building with other entrepreneurs of all kinds.
Don’t Be Led Astray
It’s becoming a well-established trend among millennials to spend money you don’t have in order to keep up with peers. Much of this behavior is perpetuated by social media and the deceptively lavish lifestyles advertised therein. You may see your friend post a glamorous selfie on a yacht, but what they conveniently fail to post is their defeated return to their crappy rusted Hyundai.
Social media is rife with shiny temptations, but it pays to learn to see beneath the veneer. Remain focused on your long-term goals, because they are generally better objectives to aspire to than the illusory images propagated by social media.
Bad habits that have been etched into deep grooves in your mind over time will probably take a little while to undo.
However, the persistent effort likely required is worth putting forth. Improve upon the person you were yesterday, and avoid comparing yourself with what you think other people are.