When you don’t have any money, it can be stressful. Don’t let that stop you from being productive. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can still improve your life and reach your goals.

When you don’t have any money, here are 20 productive things you can do.

1. Hold a bill-lowering session.

Are you looking for ideas on what to do instead of spending money or leaving your house? Make a list of all your recurring bills, such as utilities, car insurance, and home insurance, and compare them to see if you can get a better deal.

This may sound tedious. It’s important to remember, however, that there is no existing customer loyalty these days. You’ll probably end up paying more if you don’t change.

But, don’t stop there. Be sure to only pay for subscriptions and memberships you use.

The following 3 questions should be asked if you’re stuck:

  • How valuable is this service (or product)?
  • Is there a cheaper option?
  • Could I live without it for the time being?

If any of these questions fail, they should be canceled. Even better? Use a tool like Trim or Rocket to find and cancel unwanted subscriptions for you.

2. Establish financial goals.

The purpose of setting financial goals is to provide direction, motivation, and clarity for your financial planning. By setting specific goals, you can make better financial decisions, stay on top of your budget, and save money for the future.

The following are some of the key benefits of setting financial goals:

  • Direction. Having financial goals gives you a clear idea of what you are striving for. It can also help you stay focused on your priorities and make better financial decisions. By saving for a down payment and avoiding unnecessary debt, for example, you will be more likely to buy a house in five years.
  • Motivation. Sticking to your budget and making financial sacrifices can be motivated by financial goals. Having a clear goal makes it easier to resist the temptation to spend money on frivolous items.
  • Clarity. When you have financial goals, you can track your spending and identify areas where you could cut back. As a result, you will be able to use your resources more efficiently and save more money over time.

Aside from these benefits, setting financial goals can also help you:

  • Reduce your debt.
  • Build wealth.
  • Save for a down payment on a house.
  • Achieve financial freedom.
  • Plan for a comfortable retirement.

In general, setting financial goals is an essential step toward financial success. Keeping specific goals in mind will allow you to make better financial choices, stay within your budget, and save money.

3. Download a budgeting app.

Even though budgeting can help you control spending and avoid debt, most people don’t keep it up-to-date.

An OppLoans survey, which was conducted in 2022, reported that 73% of Americans fail to adhere to a budget regularly. Moreover, 1 in 10 respondents don’t even keep a budget.

However, a budgeting app can solve this problem.

The following are some of the benefits of using a budgeting app:

  • Keeping track of your spending.
  • Establishing financial goals.
  • Understanding your income and spending.
  • Providing automatic alerts.
  • Giving you a complete picture of your finances.

A budgeting app can also provide the following benefits:

  • One place for real-time information.
  • Budgeting made easy.
  • Keep track of your progress.
  • Avoiding mistakes.
  • Reminders for bills.
  • Tracking your net worth.

Several budgeting apps can automatically download transactions and categorize spending by integrating with your bank account and credit cards. In addition to helping you reduce spending and increase your income, they can also advise you on how to cut back on expenses.

4. Declutter your home.

When you lose a bill, throw away spoiled food, or miss your sunglasses, the cost of being disorganized becomes apparent. You can, however, save money by organizing your home.

Overdue bills, late fees, and missed deadlines can all be caused by clutter in the home. In a chaotic home, finances can be destroyed, credit can be damaged, and productivity can be impaired.

Some examples include:

  • When your home office is disorganized, you might misplace bills, miss tax deadlines, or waste time looking for paperwork.
  • It is possible to have expired food and an overcrowded pantry with a chaotic kitchen.
  • When your closet is cluttered, you may spend money on duplicate clothes or items you don’t wear because you can’t find them.
  • An untidy living area can block ventilation, leading to higher utility bills.

5. Clean your house.

Additionally, you should schedule time to do a thorough cleaning of your home. Cleaning your home can improve your overall health, mental health, and sleep. Furthermore, regular home cleaning will save you money over time.

For example, air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines can operate at maximum efficiency if they are kept free from dust and lint, reducing electricity bills and extending the lifespan of these expensive appliances.

Plus, you can sell the stuff you no longer need to make some extra dough.

6. Plan your meals.

In 2023, the average cost of groceries per person in America will be $415.53. Location, age, and personal eating habits can all affect this number. Regardless, when money is tight, this can be a burdensome expense.

The good news is that you can save money on groceries with meal planning. Sure, it’s not an exciting activity. However, this helps prevent you from buying unnecessary groceries, and more importantly, it keeps you from using the grocery store midweek.

Also, when you plan to use the food that’s already in the freezer, fridge, and pantry, you’ll have to make fewer grocery purchases and waste less food. In addition to leftovers, you can think about how you will use up the produce and other perishables that might end up in the trash.

7. Improve your skills and knowledge.

Investing in yourself will help you improve your prospects. You can do this by taking online courses, reading books, or attending workshops. Don’t let a lack of money keep you from learning; there are plenty of free or low-cost resources available.

For free or on a low budget, you can develop the following skills and knowledge:

  • Become fluent in a new language. You can learn languages for free on a variety of apps and websites. Alternatively, you can search online or in your community for language exchange partners.
  • Learn how to code. The ability to code is a valuable skill in many different industries. As such, the Internet is filled with free coding tutorials. Additionally, you can find coding boot camps that offer scholarships or income-sharing arrangements.
  • Become familiar with personal finance. All of us should know how to manage our money wisely. Investing, budgeting, and other financial topics can be learned for free online and in libraries.
  • Discover what entrepreneurship is all about. For anyone who has dreamed of starting their own business, there are many free resources available. It is possible to take free or low-cost online courses, read books, and participate in mentorship programs.

8. Network with people in your field.

One of the best ways to improve your prospects is to network. Find out more about your industry and job opportunities by networking with others in your field. Through mutual friends, industry events, or online networking, you can network.

The most important thing when networking is to build relationships rather than sell yourself. Offer to help people in any way you can with their work by asking questions.

9. Get involved in your community.

You can get involved in your community in many ways. Consider attending local events, volunteering for a local cause, or joining a club or organization.

Getting involved in your community not only makes you feel great, but it allows you to network and enhance your professional skills.

10. Update your resume.

Whether or not you are currently looking for a job, updating your resume regularly is important. The following are some of the most significant benefits:

  • Keep your career on track. You should update your resume regularly to reflect your current skills, experience, and accomplishments. Keeping it updated regularly will help you identify areas for improvement and track your progress.
  • Highlight your most recent skills and experience. Update your resume whenever you gain new skills, experience, or education at work or through extracurricular activities. You’ll demonstrate your skills and experience to potential employers by constantly learning and growing. This could also help you land a raise or promotion at work.
  • Adapt your resume to specific job openings. Whenever you apply for a new job, you should tailor your resume to the specific requirements of the job. Use keywords likely to be used by applicant tracking systems (ATS) to highlight skills and experience most relevant to the job. When you regularly update your resume, you will have a ready-made document that you can customize for each job application.
  • Maintain a record of your accomplishments. Over time, it can be easy to forget your accomplishments, especially if your current job keeps you busy. Keeping your resume updated will enable you to stay on top of your accomplishments and make sure that your most impressive achievements are highlighted.
  • Stay ahead of the competition. As the job market changes, employers are looking for candidates with the latest skills. Maintaining your resume will show potential employers that you are current on industry trends.
  • To be ready for unexpected opportunities. You never know when a great job opportunity might present itself. With an up-to-date resume, you will be able to apply for any job you are interested in quickly and easily.

11. Create your blog or website.

It is possible to share your opinions with the world by starting a blog or website. Moreover, you will establish yourself as an expert in your field as well as build an audience. Then, you can monetize your blog or website through affiliate marketing or advertising. Or, snag a better-paying job.

In general, you can expect to spend $50 to $200 setting up your blog. Once that is done, your monthly costs should be between $20 and $60. However, you can use Blogger for free if you have a Gmail account.

12. Start a side hustle.

Side hustles are a great way to earn extra money while pursuing your passions. Aside from freelancing or dropshipping, there are many different types of side hustles you can start, like selling homemade products on Etsy, dog walking, or driving for Uber.

Choosing a side hustle should be guided by what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about. It should also be something that you can do part-time. But, eventually, your side hustle could become a full-time gig.

13. Take care of your health and well-being.

There is no greater asset than your health and well-being. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly to take good care of yourself. In the end, this will also save you money on healthcare costs.

To maintain your health, there are many free or low-cost options available. A free exercise class can be found online, at your local park, or your local community center. It is also possible to cook healthy meals at home with inexpensive ingredients.

14. Practice gratitude.

The benefits of practicing gratitude, whether through a gratitude journal or by telling people how much you appreciate them, include:

  • They increased happiness and well-being. People who regularly practice gratitude are happier, feel more well-being, and experience less stress than those who do not. The reason for this is that gratitude encourages us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, no matter how challenging things may seem.
  • Improved mental and physical health. As well as reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, gratitude can also improve sleep quality and boost immunity.
  • Stronger relationships. By being grateful, we can build and maintain stronger relationships with others. The act of expressing gratitude to others demonstrates our appreciation for them and our value for what they offer.
  • Greater resilience in the face of adversity. It is possible to recover from setbacks and cope with difficult times by being grateful. Maintaining a positive attitude even in tough times can be achieved by focusing on the things we are grateful for.

15. Change your mindset about money.

How you view money is determined by your money mindset. It influences your savings, spending, and debt management. In short, it defines how you think, as well as your beliefs about money.

So, if you live from paycheck to paycheck, you might have developed a scarcity mindset around money. Your financial outlook may have been influenced by an event that occurred in your life at some point. As a result, you are now operating from a less-than-desirable mental space.

Whatever your background, the information you consume today can strengthen and/or change your money mindset.

To change your money mindset, follow these steps:

  • Forgive yourself. To move forward, you must let go of past financial mistakes.
  • Establish money goals. You can’t reach your financial goals if you don’t have the right mindset.
  • Use positive affirmations. Your actions can be motivated by positive affirmations.
  • Make money mindset a part of your everyday life. Improving your finances starts with your money mindset.
  • Change your mindset about budgeting. Your beliefs and feelings about money have a great impact on your decision-making process.
  • Commit to your decision. A change in attitudes and beliefs can lead to better financial results.
  • Values are more important than features. With time, wisdom, and knowledge, your mindset can change.

16. Spend time with loved ones.

One of the most important things in life is spending time with loved ones. Besides being free, it’s also good for your mental and emotional well-being.

Keep in touch with your loved ones regularly. Go out for coffee, take a walk, or just talk on the phone.

17. Master the art of couponing.

You can save money by couponing, but it can be difficult to know where to start. To help you master couponing, here are some tips:

  • Create a coupon organizer. When shopping, you can easily find the coupons you need by keeping track of them. An envelope, a binder, or even a folder will do.
  • Find coupons from a variety of sources. There are many sources of coupons, including newspapers, magazines, manufacturer websites, and coupon websites. To receive coupons and promotions, you can also sign up for email lists from your favorite stores.
  • Use coupon apps. Several coupon apps are available that allow you to find and save coupons. Among the most popular coupon apps are RetailMeNot, Coupons.com, and Groupon.
  • Organize your coupons by category. By doing this, you’ll be able to find the coupons you need more easily. You could, for instance, have categories for groceries, health and beauty, clothing, and home goods.
  • Plan your shopping trips around coupons. Check your coupon organizer before making a shopping list to see what coupons you have. This will prevent you from purchasing items without coupons.
  • Stack coupons. When you stack coupons on the same item, you’ll be able to save even more money Depending on the store, you may be able to stack manufacturer coupons with store coupons, while others will only allow you to use one coupon per item.
  • Understand store coupon policies. Coupons may be limited in number per transaction in some stores, while certain coupons may be restricted in others. It is a good idea to check the store’s coupon policy before you begin shopping.

It is possible to save a lot of money by couponing with a little planning and effort. The key is to be organized and to understand the store’s coupon policies.

18. Sign up for discounts and freebies.

This is hard to believe. There are a lot of retailers and restaurants that will give you discounts and even freebies.

How? Here are some ways to get discounts and freebies:

  • Join rewards programs. Most businesses offer rewards programs that give you discounts and free stuff if you sign up. Almost any business can offer rewards programs, including restaurants, retail stores, and online services.
  • Sign up for email lists. Some businesses also give people freebies and discounts if they sign up for their email lists. It’s also a great way to keep up with all the latest deals and promotions.
  • Follow businesses on social media. Many businesses have special promotions and discounts for their social media followers. So you don’t miss out on any deals, follow your favorite businesses on social media.
  • Use couponing websites and apps. Coupons and discounts are available on many websites and apps. From food and shopping to travel and entertainment, you can find coupons everywhere.

More specifically, there are birthday freebies, as well as discounts for college students, seniors, military personnel, and healthcare workers.

19. Embark on a 30-day money savings challenge.

For example, you can save $100 in 30 days by taking the 30-Day $100 Savings Challenge. Each day, it gradually increases your savings.

Start by printing out the 30-day savings tracker. You can find lots of trackers online, or you can make your own. When you get your tracker, fill in how much you want to save each day.

Start by saving $1 a day, then $2 a day, etc. Each day’s savings amount increases slowly until you’re saving $5 per day for the last ten days.

20. Take advantage of free or low-cost resources.

A wide range of free and low-cost resources are available to people who are struggling financially. Many essential services are available for free or at a low cost, including food, clothing, housing, and other necessities.

Make sure you check your local resources to see what’s available. If you need help, you can contact your local government or nonprofit organization.

FAQs

Why is it important to be productive, even when you have no money?

Despite not having any money, being productive has many benefits.

  • The first benefit is that you’ll feel more in control of your life and less stressed.
  • Secondly, it makes you feel accomplished and purposeful.
  • As a third benefit, it can make you more marketable by teaching you new skills and improving your knowledge.
  • Lastly, it can save you money by preventing unnecessary spending on leisure.

What can I do when I have no money?

Even without money, you can still have fun and meet your basic needs. These are a few ideas:

  • Meet your basic needs. There are many resources out there to help you pay for food, shelter, and clothes. Get in touch with your local social services agency, food bank, or homeless shelter.
  • Find free or low-cost activities. There are plenty of ways to have fun without spending a lot of cash. See what’s going on at your local library, park, or community center. Additionally, hiking trails, bike paths, and pools are free or low-cost.
  • Get creative. It’s easy to entertain yourself without spending money. Try reading a book, keeping a journal, playing games with friends, or cooking something. You can also take free classes at your local library or community college or watch online tutorials.

How can I stay motivated to be productive when I have no money?

When you’re struggling financially, it can be hard to stay motivated. Here’s some advice:

  • Set realistic goals. Be careful not to overdo it. Make big tasks more manageable by breaking them down.
  • Reward yourself. Reward yourself when you finish a task or reach a goal by taking a break, eating a healthy snack, or doing something you love.
  • Find a support system. Get support from a friend, family member, or mentor.

What can I do if I need financial assistance?

For people who need financial help, here are some resources:

  • Government programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security. In terms of housing, you may qualify for government programs like Section 8 housing or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • Nonprofits that provide shelter, food, and other essentials.
  • Religious organizations that offer financial assistance to members of their community.
  • You can get low-interest loans from community banks and credit unions.

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