Making Ends Meet

Posted on October 20, 2021

Making Ends Meet: What to do when cutting out the extras isn’t enough.

Most of us work hard to make ends meet. The pandemic hasn’t made it any easier. PYMNTS.com and LendingClub surveyed nearly 30,000 people between March 2020 and May 2021 for their report Reality Check: The Paycheck-To-Paycheck Report. Over 54% of respondents said they lived paycheck to paycheck. Even more unsettling, 53% of those said they’re earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. Life happens to all of us and when it does, it can be a struggle to get by until payday. If clipping coupons and skipping that morning latte isn’t enough to give you the breathing room you need, here are some ideas for spending less and earning more:

Get magazines, movies, and music for free
Cable, satellite, subscriptions, and streaming service fees can add up fast. If you’re hesitant about cutting the cord on cable or canceling your subscriptions, check your local library online and see what they have to offer. With a library card, you may have access to download comic books, magazines, movies, television series, audiobooks, and music free of charge. Movie channels like IMDB and Tubi are great for finding something to watch, too. Commercial breaks are a small price to pay for free movies.

Save on furniture, appliances, home décor, tools, and more

Check Websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor. You’ll be shocked at what your neighbors are giving away. This summer alone, I scored a next-to-new patio heater, a self-propelled Toro lawnmower, a gazebo, porch swing, patio furniture, lumber, power tools, antiques, and more - all for free!

Find the perfect side-hustle

Gig work is a great way to make extra money when you need it. Unlike a full-time job, when you work for companies like Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, or Instacart, you’re in charge of your schedule. On gig sites like Fiverr.com, you can offer freelance services like resume-writing, dance lessons, voiceovers, joke-telling, singing, logo design and more. Make a profile, name your price, post a few examples of your work, and let the customers come to you! Check the Fiverr Gigs® Directory for a complete list of services.

Try buying “gently used” clothing, accessories, and shoes

Score great deals on new and gently used items at thrift stores and resale shops. You’ll be amazed at what you can find and how much you can save. Look for stores like Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, Once Upon a Child, and more in your area, or shop online at sites like shopgoodwill.com, eBay, ThredUp, and Mercari.

These are just a few ideas for earning more and spending less. If you’ve tried one or more of these or if have a tip of your own to share, we’d love to hear from you. Write us at sfcunews@southeastfinancial.org and tell us how you’re making ends meet.