Car accidents, traffic fines, dental bills, benders, HR stuffing up payroll, the Russian mafia skimming your credit card – whatever the reason, we’ve all been caught with our pants ’round our ankles when it comes to being short on cash.
Much like hormonal acne, being a dunce with your personal finances is a necessary rite of passage on the path to adulthood. But a bad fortnight / month doesn’t *have* to send you into a spiral of self-loathing, if you’ve got a few different contingency plans up your sleeve.
Cop these ones, and rest easy.
CALL YOUR CREDITORS
That means any bills you have owing – rent, electricity, phone, credit cards – anyone that is expecting you to pay them, give them a call and tell them you need more time. Most of the time there’s no need to give them a sob story – they already have systems in place to handle due date extensions.
Note that you may still be slugged with late fees on your next bill, depending on which company is handling your account. Similarly: you can also suspend month-to-month contracts, such as Netflix, with little to no fuss.
SIGN UP FOR FOCUS GROUPS AND MEDICAL TRIALS
Loads of people are eager to pick your brains, and will pay for the right to do so. Registering on market research websites can get you invited to product tests, focus groups, and interviews, among others.
They often reimburse you with vouchers, gift cards, and (most importantly) cold hard cash. Also, while we would never advocate for the sale of human organs, medical studies are often looking for people of varying ages and abilities to see if medications, treatments, and other things in the pipeline actually work. And since they’re run by universities with strict ethics guidelines, you can be sure that anything you’re heading into is above board.
SELL YOUR EXTRA STUFF ON BUY/TRADE GROUPS
Have a dress you only wore once? Perfectly functioning mobile phone that you’ve since upgraded? Video games you finished a year ago that are gathering dust?
All of these are potential new revenue streams. Most local communities around Australia have buy/sell/trade groups. Likewise, there are often specific groups devoted to certain clothing lines and designers, as well as to certain categories like bikes and video games. You might not be able to get back what you paid for them, but you’ll still get something.
SQUEEZE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PETROL AND GROCERIES
Lower-cost supermarkets like ALDI are the obvious choice here – not only will you save serious cash on your weekly grocery bill, but some of their products can be as good or better than their brand-name counter parts.
If you prefer to go to the Big Two supermarket chains, make sure to sign up for their rewards programs. The points stack up quick, especially if you take advantage of offers that occasionally pop up, and the points can be traded up directly for money off your shop. For petrol, its worth getting a fuel tracker app like Fuel Checker in NSW to make sure you are always getting the best price in your area.
SEARCH FOR SMALL JOBS ONLINE
Websites like Airtasker and Fiverr have made it easier than ever for people to look for professionals to do odd jobs, and for people like yourself to pick up the gig. The jobs are varied and many, from helping out with a moving home and cleaning, to data entry into Excel, to everything in between.
And while it isn’t a long term solution, a couple of gigs here and there can make all the difference when things get tight.
So get out there and get scrimping, team. Your wallet will thank you.