If you’ve been flattening the curve by staying in, you’ve probably haven’t indulged in avocado toast brunch or a latte in a while. So why aren’t you rich yet? According to financial pundits, these superfluous spending habits are the reason why you don’t have any money.
This only goes to show you how small or infrequent splurges aren’t the true problem with your budget. Let’s dig into the real reasons why you don’t have extra cash before targeting some possible solutions.
You’re Earning too Little
Wage stagnation is likely holding you back from your full earning potential. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, real wages — or your wages after you account for inflation — have the same purchasing power as they did 40 years ago.
Your Big Expenses Cost Too Much
A popular budgeting method recommends spending no more than 50 percent of your net income on the necessities, but for many young people, this is an impossible ratio. The typical millennial spends half their income on rent alone.
With the essentials eating up so much of their budget, millennials spend a tiny portion of their income on splurges like coffee and takeout. Cutting them out may give your wallet a subtle boost, but it won’t flush your savings account with cash.
All told, you may not be hitting savings targets. This leaves you unprepared for emergencies and incapable of saving for life’s biggest goals. So what can you do?
In an unexpected emergency, you may find temporary relief with an online installment loan. Online direct lenders such as MoneyKey offer a quick and simple way to get the funds you need to cover urgent medical bills and auto repairs.
Online installment loans are designed specifically for these unexpected, non-recurring emergencies. And because you don’t have to make time for a meeting at a bank, they may be a faster way to cover bills.
Change Your Lifestyle
An installment loan may give temporary relief, but it doesn’t replace the need for an emergency fund of your own.
If cutting out coffee doesn’t yield big savings, consider how you can reduce the cost of essentials. Here are a couple of examples below:
- If you live in an expensive city, leaving it behind for a small town may free up a lot of cash.
- What you make at home may be consuming more of your wages than you realize. Replacing meat for legumes may be a cheaper way to fill your belly, or, if you live in a food desert, a meal plan built around cheap yet nutritious food can help, too.
Find a New Career
Reducing what you spend on the essentials is a good first step, but it won’t change the fact you may be operating on small margins. Brainstorm what you can do to earn more. This may mean researching side hustles you can do in your time off until you can focus on big career changes, including:
- Asking for a raise or advancement opportunities
- Enrolling in free classes to upgrade skills
- Networking — “it’s not what you know but who you know” is still as relevant today as ever
This may seem like a big ask, but it’s the only way to move beyond living paycheck to paycheck. So stop feeling guilty about splurging occasionally on something inexpensive and fun. These tiny purchases aren’t your budget’s biggest problem in the long run. Focus on the real problems to see meaningful change to your budget.