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Ways to Avoid Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Ways to Avoid Living Paycheck to Paycheck

If you are living on paycheck to paycheck, that implies that all your money comes and goes out at the end of the month. It may not seem so bad at first. After all, you're up to date on your bills, aren't you? But if that's all you do, then it's a problem as you won't be able to look to the future as you can't save money for emergencies in the future. And there is no real security with your money today. A little moment when "life happens" can change everything.

Hey, if this is you, you're not alone. Currently, 78% of American workers live on the payroll. But if you're stuck in this cycle, there's no need to stay there. Seriously! Don't settle for "it's not that bad." When you can move to "it is great and can only get better." You'll have a little more peace with your money and have security as you've never known before. 

To help you live the life you deserve, we have put together some of the ways you can avoid living paycheck to paycheck.


Ways to stop living paycheck to paycheck

Get on a budget

Maybe you don't even know where your paycheck goes. Sometimes you think it is bills, food, or payment. Just keep people fed, and things paid for. But, that is not the right way to live. It's time to start the budget. Why? Because when you have a budget, you tell the money where it should go instead of wondering where it is going.

You'll realize some spending habits you didn't even know you had when you start working with a budget. Then you can make the required adjustments to achieve your financial goals now and in the future.

It cannot be said enough: a budget is the basis of all money management, and it is the first step towards the end of this life, controlled by a paycheck. It is never too late to start now, so get on a budget. 


Take care of your basic needs first.

When you set your budget, it will help you note your income and your expenses. This, in turn, will lead to smart questions. Questions such as what expenses do you need to cover first? What are the four essentials, and how to go about it? The Essential, also known as the four walls, are your top priority, so ensure your budget is ready to cover these things, especially in this order, before anything else:

  • Food

  • Shelter

  • Transportation

  • Utility

Once you've done that, make a list of everything you need to pay for and sort it by importance. When you are out of money, that's it. Stop spending. But by starting with the essentials, you'll know you're keeping your lights on, water running, a roof over your head, feeding your family, and gas in the car to get to work.


Start an emergency fund.

Let's talk about the emergency fund. First, an initial emergency fund of $1,000 is required. You might wonder why you have to save now if you're busy trying to survive. But guess what? Knowing that you have this buffer between you and life will bring you much peace. It's your safety net for "rainy days." You can pay cash without worrying about bills you'll have to skip this month, to cover things if you're in trouble.

Listen, you can save up to $1,000 just by making small (but intentional) changes daily, weekly, and even monthly. And it will be worth it.


Stop living with debt.

Well, here's the thing: Debts are holding you back. It made you pay for last year's debts this year. And the debt is getting tougher. These days, installment payment businesses are on the rise. They lure you to the checkout, saying you can pay for that vacation in four easy installments. Do you want to sink money into your fancy vacation for the next four months? Living with debt is one of the most important things that keeps you in the paycheck to paycheck cycle.


Get Out of Debt

Here's how: First, stop taking on new debt! This means that you no longer have to pay with a credit card. Do not take out a loan for a new car. Then come up with a plan to repay your debt by paying from the smallest to the largest, using the debt snowball method.

Think of it this way: How much of your money is spent on debt each month when you're budgeting? That is the exact amount that will be returned to you and available at your disposal when you are no longer in debt or taking on new debts.

 

Sell things

Now is the time to bring in more cash! One of the quickest ways to make extra money is to sell everything you are not making use of. Maybe it's jewelry, clothes, baby items, or even that extra car in the garage. I know it might be hard to let go of that treasure or item with so many memories, but trust me, this is the right time to let it go.

Listen, if you can get rid of something and make some money, do it! This will give your bank account or budget a bit more padding, which is useful when living paycheck to paycheck.


Find a short-term job or start a side job.

If you've set a budget and sold a few items but can barely pay your bills, you may need a consistent way to increase your income. Find a second or side job.

Serving meals, driving for Uber or Lyft, being a bartender, working in a call center, or signing up as a substitute teacher are great ways to earn extra money. There are also plenty of jobs to work from home that you can do after work or even on weekends.

Yes, it will be difficult. But that's only for one season. Once you've been able to pay off some debts and get some money in, you can slow down again.


Live below your means.

This is important, so don't neglect it - earning more money won't do you any good if you keep spending it all. Don't start a side hustle and continue to live a lifestyle you can't afford. A pay raise can cause you to spend even more money if you're not careful. This is called lifestyle change or lifestyle inflation. Suddenly you can buy things you couldn't before and start becoming pretty loose with those purse strings.

Sure, it's tempting to spend more when you earn more, but that's not the case! Remember why you took that side job in the first place. Be intentional, pay attention, and stick to your budget.


Find things to cut.

If you're living paycheck to paycheck, now is not the time to buy the most expensive steak for dinner (that does not mean you shouldn't eat well), go on an extravagant vacation, or visit your favorite restaurant. Now is the time to cut costs. Find any area of your budget where you can spend less.

Call your phone and internet providers to downgrade or pause some service. Take a stroll to the park and library instead of spending money on entertainment. Stop eating out. 

We know that making such sacrifices doesn't always seem right at first. It hurts! But remember: it's not forever. You make temporary sacrifices. It's time to work now to be in a better position in the future.


Save up for big purchases.

Nothing keeps you counting the minutes until payday more than spending a lot of money on a big purchase. So if you see something coming, like if you notice your tire tread is too worn, save up and pay for it to be changed. You'll save less each month instead of spending an entire month's budget.

Secondly, when you're living paycheck to paycheck, don't make big non-essential purchases. 


Meal Plan

Food is one of the primary essentials for daily living, and you have got to eat. But it's also a budget category that can spiral out of control if you're not careful. Planning meals will help you avoid selfish temptations because you know what you have for dinner at home. Plus, you'll spend less on food if you know exactly what you need to buy for the week. No more random impulse purchases or tons of fresh vegetables (bought with good intentions but with no plans) that end up moldy in the trash!

You'll waste less and spend less, freeing up your budget and helping you move forward.


Last words

Breaking free from paycheck to paycheck is a process, and you have to be intentional about it. The first thing is to make a budget and avoid debt as much as possible. Also, you need to avoid impulse spending and stick to the budget you've created for yourself.


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