When your budget exceeds the amount of income you are bringing in, you and your family have officially entered “hard times”. There were reports of job growth in the last 8 years, but the amount of families living on shoestring budgets has increased. Also, the amount of families with income either barely meeting their needs or falling short has increased too because the growth numbers in the job sector have been spun by the recent political climate in the media to look positive. If you are reading, then you are experiencing this false prosperity, and you are not alone. Keeping a family afloat on a limited budget is not impossible, and it is not impossible to climb out of a deep, financial hole due to a job loss or an unexpected expense like an illness. If you want to make it through it, you will have to sacrifice, live creatively and swallow your pride. Here are some avenues to take if you have to pay bills for your family and have no money to pay them with.

Get Another Job

Unless you already have two jobs, this is the route you will want to take first. Being broke is not something that typically happens overnight. You will see your family budget being eroded over time, and you can add another stream of income before it gets too bad. Take anything you have to on your days off, at night or during the day if you work nights. It will not be easy. You will be tired, but you can budget some of the extra income for coffee and energy drinks.

Apply for Emergency Food Stamps

There is a federal aid program where you can get help buying groceries from U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but most people know it as the food stamp program. A lot of people will have trouble applying because of pride, but if you qualify, you can feed your family until you have income, or it will help free up money devoted to food costs for you to use on necessary bills like rent or utilities. You apply for benefits at the state level in your local county office. Additionally, your state has its own requirements for eligibility, and it is usually dependent on income versus family size. Visit the SNAP website for more information.

Get a Payday Loan

Getting a payday loan is something most experts would advise against, but the needs of your family and having to keep the lights on requires immediate action sometimes. Payday loans can be very handy if you use them responsibly and only in emergencies. If you get paid every other week and live paycheck to paycheck, then you know sometimes payday falls a few days after rent or something equally important is due, but you have to find the best place possible though because there are a lot of them really ripping people off with interest rates. Also, you may be in a position where your credit is not quite perfect. Compare the process of getting a payday loan and the benefits of your area payday loan centers to a place like Power Finance, which gives payday loans in El Paso, Texas, to customers in a variety of bad financial positions.

Sell Your Things or Visit a Pawn Shop

You can live without a television and other electronics, and you can also live without jewelry or other material possessions. It will probably hurt to sell your possessions to pay bills or buy food, but it gets easier when you measure the love of your things against the love of your family. Start by trying the Internet first. You can sell or auction things off quickly on eBay. Also, it is possible to sell items quickly on online classifieds, especially Craigslist or Backpage. If you do not have the time, or you want to get your items back, you can visit a pawnbroker and put your stuff up as collateral for a loan or outright sell it. Typically, you will get a better deal going the Internet route, but it is a quick way to get the money you need for bills.

Getting another job and applying for state aid should be done first. Getting a payday loan, pawning your possessions or selling your things are emergency tactics. No matter what you have to do, these tips will help you pay the bills and keep your family safe and fed.