Source: wsj.com

Have you just found out that you need a new roof on your house? Maybe you’ve had an unexpected but life-changing personal event, such as a divorce, job loss or a costly medical emergency. Perhaps there is a family member you would like to be able to help financially, or maybe you just want to stop putting off that dream project, whether it’s building a new house, taking the trip of a lifetime or adding a home theater to your existing house.

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a large gap of just not enough money between where you are now financially and where you want to be for whatever reason. Below are some ways to arrange your budget and lifestyle so that you can achieve even those dreams that are on the costlier side.

Plan Ahead

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Ideally, you will have planned for any major expenses. Ideally is the operative word here because you can know that you are supposed to have substantial savings, and it can be a solution that looks good on paper, but it can be hard to achieve.

However, assuming that you are making what is generally considered a good salary based on cost of living in your area and you do not have massive expenses, such as supporting elderly parents or paying off big debts, you really should be putting away a significant amount of your money.

You may have heard that you should have the equivalent in savings of three to six months’ worth of your expenses, but if you can build up more than this, it will be much less stressful to meet big costs as they arise.

There are people who make a point of saving as much as 30%, 40% or even more of their salary, or couples who essentially bank the salary of one person. While you shouldn’t live down-and-out while you squirrel money away for a rainy day that may never come, if you look at what you spend, you may be surprised at what you can cut.

Home Equity Loan

Source: newdoorresidential.com

One of several reasons that buying a home can be a good investment is that it also gives you something to tap into when you need money. You can borrow against the value of your home as long as you have some equity in it.

There are several different options and things for you to consider when you are looking at either a home equity line of credit or a home equity loan, and you can click here to find out more about them. This guide can also give you more information about your rates and any tax implications.

Get into Investing

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Whether you have $100 or $10,000, you can get started in investing today and see some returns quickly depending on the vehicles you choose the companies you choose and how much money you put in.

Investing is generally better as a long-term than a short-term financial plan, which is why many financial planners will tell you not to sweat over the ups and downs of the stock market and trust that over time, the value of your investments will generally climb.Ā 

However, apps have made investing as easy and as hands-on or as hands-off as you want it to be. There are even opportunities to set up a dummy account in some apps while you learn the ropes. Keep a few caveats in mind, such as that you shouldn’t be putting money into risky investments that you can’t afford to lose, and investing apps can offer a great opportunity to learn as you go and slowly or quickly build up a nest egg to help you deal with unexpected expenses.

Boost Your Income

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There is a saying that if you want more money, you have two choices: you can make more or spend less. It’s simplistic but true. If your regular job does not make much money for you and you cannot cut your expenses any further, loans are not quite right or you are not eligible, and investing seems too risky or just doesn’t hold your interest, you’ll need to figure out how to earn more money.

This could mean selling some of your stuff or looking for a side hustle, whether that is designing websites, mowing lawns, tutoring or just about anything else that a person might rather pay someone for than do themselves. On the other hand, it could mean entering a whole new career field, including going back to school and getting a degree.Ā 

Before you take such a big, drastic step, be sure that you thoroughly understand the field that you are going into, including your employment prospects, the possibility for growth in the field and your own aptitude for it.

You don’t want to spend years retraining for a new career only to find out that you hate it or that it is in a shrinking industry. However, with due diligence, this can be a great move for you and one of the best ways to get more money since it will be not just a steady source of stable finances but a positive shift in your lifestyle as well.

Borrowing Against Your Retirement Account

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You might not be a homeowner, or your credit may be poor, and you may need money a lot faster than the other above methods can offer you. In most cases, you can borrow against a qualified retirement plan.

There are reasons that most financial advisers will tell you that this should be an idea of last resort, including the simple fact that it is best to leave your retirement account alone to grow. Another drawback is that if you lose your job, you might have to pay back your loan in full.

You also generally only have five years to repay this loan. However, this can still be a better option than using your credit cards or living with the consequences of delaying a big outlay, like a medical procedure or fixing your roof. Assess your situation carefully, but do keep in mind that this may be a solution available to you if necessary.