Seriously relying on that next paycheck in order to take care of necessary expenses and bills may not be an ideal situation, but for many, it’s reality. If you currently live paycheck to paycheck, you certainly aren’t alone. Although it can be stressful waiting for your next payday, the following tips can help:
Automatically contribute to savings
Whenever you get your paycheck, contribute a small amount of it towards your savings account, as if it’s a mandatory bill you have to pay. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you may say that this is impossible because you need every penny for your bills. Even if you can only save $5.00 from each biweekly paycheck, it will add up. After a year, that’s $120 more in savings you’ll have that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. That can cover a doctor’s visit, a minor (but much needed) car repair, or something else unexpected that you’ll need to pay for as you wait for your next paycheck.
Think carefully about what you’re spending money on and the bills you’re paying. Is there something you can get rid of completely, or at the very least, cut down on? Maybe it’s cable television, high-speed Internet, or shopping for non-essentials. Eliminate what you can and just hang on to that money, so that you’re not worrying about taking care of your necessities while you wait for the next payday.
Stick to your budget
You might be spending more than you need to after you’re getting paid, and as a result, your money tends to disappear fast. Create a budget and stick to it; this is essential for getting back on track and not living paycheck to paycheck, which can be very stressful. When it comes to your variable expenses, such as groceries, set aside a fixed amount that you won’t go over.
Track your spending
Maybe you do have a budget set in place that you’re sticking to, and still find you’re living paycheck to paycheck, even with cutbacks. Have you been tracking your transactions to make sure you’re spending the exact amounts you think you are? You might only be thinking of your bigger bills and expenses, and not considering that every little purchase—like that pack of gum from the gas station or coffee from the diner—can add up significantly. Save your receipts, check your bank account transactions, and review your budget to make sure you aren’t overspending.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.