I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when money was T.I.G.H.T. I mean, on the floor of the car, reaching under the seats, trying to find a dollar in change to get enough gas to get me home or to work. (That’s when gas was cheap!) ;)

I learned a few BIG things over those years – one, not having money is one of the scariest, most unsettling feelings ever. It makes you feel completely out of control of your life. But I realized there were certain things I could do that would make me feel like I had control again and doing those things would help tremendously.

Although things are different for me now, there are certainly still times when cash is low – we are adjusting to a definite change since my hubby has retired from teaching. We planned for it and know things will even out so it’s not a scary situation, but it’s easy for those feelings of fear creep back in. It’s silly because my situation is completely different from years ago, but when the bank account goes low and the budget is spent for the month, I can’t help but feel that again, just a little. I will for as long as I live – you just don’t forget that feeling. :)

There are a few things that I’ve always done at times like that – and each of them gives me a sense of having control over my life. The first one may sound a little unusual – but it’s always worked for me.

I clean my car. :)

Now, my car is the thorn in my organizational side. It is just a space that easily gets messy and full of STUFF and I let it get out of control all. the. time. My husband does too. Maybe it’s the creative side of us? ;)

car disaster

Back in the day it was my mom’s car that I would do this with, but I would gather up change from around the house (or the car!) and drive to the car wash place and use their vacuum. I know you can do this at home and save a couple bucks, but for me it’s always getting out and driving there that helps too. When you don’t have any cash you’re not getting out as much so the drive was usually much needed.

I did this the other day and it ALWAYS makes me feel better – just throwing trash away, vacuuming the whole thing – it seriously works! If you are extra ambitious you can get even more detailed with it and maybe clean the outside (at home with the hose). But I’m rarely that good. ;)

It’s just a little thing but to this day it makes me feel better!

Depending on the state of your car, the next one goes hand in hand, and it’s to purge. Or decrapify as I like to say. If you’re like me you’re not always totally on top of stuff around the house when you’re feeling down about something. And again…I think what’s most important when money is tight is to feel like you have control over your home and life.

Going through the closets, the cabinets, the clothes and losing a few pounds of stuff feels SO GOOD. I cannot stress how amazing it feels when you see a pile ready to go out the door:

purging stuff out of the house

Maybe this is just me? All I know is it makes me feel so accomplished, so light and ready to conquer the world.

I wrote a post years ago about what to do with all that stuff too – you may just make some cash from that pile! I break it down into a few different areas – consignment, donation and recycling.

And finally, one that goes hand in hand with purging – organizing what’s left. Like decluttering, it won’t cost you anything! I mean, of course you can always add pretty baskets or organization, but most of the time just reassessing what you already have is enough: 

messy coat closet organized coat closet 

You can get creative with scrap wood, shoe or diaper boxes – whatever! Make labels with your printer or paint chips or scrapbook paper – it doesn’t have to be fancy!

Next month my plan is to get the house decluttered once again! I want to get it done before school gets going in full gear and before the birthdays and holidays later this year. I’m so motivated right now – I don’t know why but I feel like it’s spring instead of late(ish) summer. I have this desire to clean out and organize the whole house!

So what do you do when funds are low? Do you have any go to projects like my car clean out? Like I mentioned, I learned over the years that, for me, the way to fight the fear that comes with financial stress is to figure out something that makes me feel like I have power over my life – and all of these things do that for me, whether money is tight or not!

Have a GREAT weekend!!

 
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