You work hard for your money, and we know it’s hard to end each month or pay period constantly with nothing in the bank to roll over or place into savings. With rising rent, food, child care, and transportation costs, unfortunately, it can be hard to break the cycle of having an end balance of zero; but, there are tips and tricks that can make it a little easier.
If you’re searching for ways on how to stop living paycheck to paycheck, take a look at some of the tried and true methods below:
Live by Your Budget
If you find yourself going broke month after month, there’s chance you might not have a grasp on what you’re spending as compared to what you’re bringing in with each paycheck. To combat this issue, make up a detailed budget of your monthly bills and financial responsibilities (including things like groceries and childcare); doing this will allow you to see how much you have leftover to go towards other non-essential purchases and allow you to limit those spending amounts accordingly. This process may also show you that you don’t have any room for additional savings with your current monthly bills, and you can take steps to adjust in order to change this.
Budget for Saving
Just as you should instigate and follow a budget for your monthly expenses, you should include a savings plan in your budget. When you pay into your savings as you would a bill it can make it easier to actually set aside money for emergencies or goals. Once you’ve created your expense budget, take the amount left over and allot a portion of that amount each month to savings before you do any discretionary spending.
When you don’t see the money, it can be easier not to spend it. See if your work has an option to send a portion of each check to a savings account for you, or utilize your employer’s 401k savings plan if available. Also, making your savings less accessible to you can make it more difficult to use the money as a backup resource. Try finding a savings option where you can set aside money in a different establishment than your checking account.
Don’t Spend Your Raises or Bonuses
It can be tempting to spend any extra money you earn at work, but it’s best to pretend you never saw it instead and direct it into savings. More importantly, try your best not to incorporate the additional money into your current financial lifestyle; this way you won’t come to rely on it and it can truly become leftover money that can build up in your bank account.
Make the Hard Cuts
Often, the reason it seems like we can never catch up is due to the fact that more unnecessary spending is going on than we realize. If you find that after paying for the essentials there is no money left for reserve, it may be time to cut out some non-essentials or reduce your spending in certain areas. Many times, the extra money can be found by doing the following:
- Cut your utility bills by reducing water and electricity usage
- Get rid of the pricey cable plan and opt for a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu
- Stop any monthly subscription plans for unnecessary services
- Don’t eat out as much, opt instead to cook most of your meals at home
- Pre-plan all of your meals before grocery shopping and stick to your list while in the store
Stop Spending on Credit
Doing away with spending on credit can be a tough habit to break for many people, but try as hard as you can to stop. With every purchase that you don’t pay off at the end of the month, it will continue to raise your monthly payment due and eat into your budget. Try to structure your budget around leaving the credit card out of it; then, come up with a plan to pay off the credit card.