Worried About Money in 2022? 3 Moves to Make

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  • Living costs are soaring in 2022 due to rampant inflation.
  • The Ukraine conflict has also driven gas prices upward.
  • Your home may be your best financial lifeline this year.

These are tricky economic times. Here's how to ease your financial concerns.

The U.S. economy is in much better shape at this point than it was a year ago. But that doesn't mean every individual is in better shape.

These days, many Americans are grappling with sky-high living costs due to rampant inflation. That's putting a lot of people in a tough position and forcing many to raid their savings or rack up large credit card tabs just to make ends meet.

The Ukraine conflict isn't helping matters. Gas prices have jumped exponentially since the start of the crisis overseas, so Americans are paying even more at the pump.

If you're worried about your financial situation in light of all of this, you're in good company. Here are three moves worth making if money has gotten dangerously tight.

1. Look into tapping your home equity

Home values are up on a national level, so a lot of people are sitting on high amounts of home equity. If you're one of them, you might consider borrowing against your home to drum up cash to cover expenses. You can do so via a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC). Both options offer fairly competitive interest rates -- and they're more economical than charging expenses on a credit card and paying a balance off over time.

2. Consider a cash-out refinance

When you refinance a mortgage, you swap your existing home loan for a new one with more favorable borrowing terms. A regular refinance involves you borrowing the exact sum you owe on your current mortgage. But with a cash-out refinance, you can borrow more than your remaining mortgage balance and use the excess funds however you please. If you're struggling to pay bills, you can use your extra cash to make sure they're covered.

Although mortgage rates have risen over the past few months, they're still fairly competitive on a historical basis. And they're still more competitive than the rates you'll generally see for a home equity loan or HELOC.

3. Get a second job

The U.S. economy is loaded with job opportunities, some of which might be very flexible. If you're willing to take on a side hustle on top of your main job, you can give your paycheck the boost it needs to make sure your bills are covered.

It especially makes sense to look at a side gig if you don't own a home and therefore can't fall back on a home equity loan or HELOC, or can't take cash out of your home by refinancing. While a personal loan could be a viable borrowing option if you're not a homeowner, before you take on that debt, it could pay to see if boosting your income with a side job does the trick.

Right now, living costs are soaring, and we could be in for many more months of high gas prices and intense inflation. If you're worried about staying afloat financially, consider using the equity you have in your home to buy yourself some leeway or growing your income with a second job to avoid having to borrow altogether.

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