Do you find yourself anxiously waiting for payday at the end of each month? Do you struggle financially until that long awaited paycheck hits your bank account? Are you living paycheck to paycheck? It’s a most awful feeling and sometimes you may think if you can just get one month ahead on your bills, things wouldn’t be so bad anymore. The problem is that you only have one low paycheck, and you’re already struggling to make ends meet. So how on earth are you going to get ahead on your bill payments?! Well don’t worry too much. I’ve got you covered! Here’s how to stop living paycheck to paycheck and how to finally get your finances on track!
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Growing up as a kid, I always had a good life. I mean, if my parents had financial struggles, they surely kept it a secret from me. My dad worked in the oilfield and we were always well taken care of. Then my mom died. I was just 14 years old and being an only child, it was just my dad and me.
My dad had to leave his offshore job and instead took a job with a lower paycheck so that he could be at home with me on evenings and weekends. Getting our lives together after raking in thousands of dollars in medical bills for my mom’s surgeries and hospital stay was a struggle. For years, we lived paycheck to paycheck and my dad’s alcohol problem didn’t help the situation.
I remember having to make a downpayment on my apartment for college and my dad could only come up with one month rent instead of the two months that I needed. I vowed that I would not live my life like that. Living paycheck to paycheck is not living anyway.
Are you in a similar situation and trying to get out? Well if you’re willing to make some little changes, you can learn how to get a month ahead on your household expenses and you’ll be able to figure out how to stop living paycheck to paycheck. It’s amazing how you can get peace of mind from something so simple.
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- You will have enough money saved to pay all of next month’s expenses should next month’s paycheck not come through.
- You will not run out of money before the end of the month
- You will have extra money for recreation
- You will also have a rainy day saving stash
Sounds good, huh? Well let’s get started!
How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
If you’re trying to stop living paycheck to paycheck and you’re trying to get one month ahead on your bills, budgeting is the secret sauce. Trust me. Pulling out your budget book is like waving a magical wand over your finances that causes everything to fall into place and start working for you. Don’t know much about budgeting? Budgeting for Beginners – A 7 Step Guide will help you get started!
2. Spend Less
Spend Less. Sounds easy, right? Uh. Not so much. Many people have a difficult time with this one because it involves being disciplined and sticking to your budget.
Obviously spending less means saving more. And this means having more wiggle room in your budget. Some ways you can spend less are by sticking to your budget, doing a few no-spend challenges, or trying your hand at some money saving challenges.
You can also spend less by making a few phone calls to negotiate your interest fees and rates associated with your credit cards, cable, internet and phone bill, insurance etc.
You’d be surprised at how easy you can get your rates lowered by simply speaking to an agent.
(P.S. Sometimes if you sound like you are considering switching to another company, they will offer you an even better rate/deal.)
Spending less also means analyzing your situation and making smart decisions. Is it cheaper to travel to work and save on gas and vehicle maintenance costs? Should you talk to a coworker and carpool instead?
3. Meal Plan
Meal Planning is a must when you’re trying to save and cut down on your household expenses. Coupled with starting to budget, meal planning was a game changer for me.
I had NO idea how much money I was wasting on groceries until I started to meal plan. I’d go to the grocery store several times a week to pick up a few things with no real plan in my head. As a result, I’d pick up random items that I had no use for (aka I wasted a lot of money). Sounds familiar?
Planning your meals keeps you on budget, keeps you focused on what you need, prevents you from wasting money on fast food and literally saves you hundreds of dollars each money! At first, plan your meals for the entire month but incorporate meals using the items that you already have in your pantry. Because waste not, want not, right?
Pssst! Did you know you can save more money by meal planning? Meal Planning saves me thousands of dollars every year! Not sure how to get started? Grab a copy of my free Meal Planning e-guide below.
4. Practice Intentional Saving
Most times, it’s best to save first and have fun later (if you can afford it of course). When creating your budget, money should be allocated for savings even if all you can afford is $5 per month. Make saving a habit from now so that when you’re in a better financial situation, saving will feel natural to you.
Set up a standing order each month so that when your paycheck hits the bank, a set amount of money can automatically be transferred to your savings account.
In addition to this, have fun with some money saving challenges or find some other creative ways to save money.
5. Get a Side Hustle
If you’re struggling and living paycheck to paycheck, the most obvious thing to do is to find a side hustle. If you just cannot find extra wiggle room in your budget, you should look into ways to increase your monthly income.
6. Use Cash back or Money Saving Apps
Using cash back apps is such a simple way to increase your cash and save money. Apps like Ebates (Use this link and get a $10 gift card) allows you to purchase through their site at a discounted rate. This can save you a ton of money in the long run. The key is to stick to purchasing items that you NEED, not items that you want!
Other apps allow you to scan your receipt to receive cash back, rewards, gift cards and more! Some even lets you complete tasks to earn extra money! Check out this list of Money Saving Apps to get the scoop.
7. Tackle Debt
Debt is temporary but it can cause you immense struggle in the present. The best way to create wiggle room and free up some of your money from month to month is to tackle debt and get rid of it once and for all.
Because so much of your money goes towards interest and fees, you may want to do some research on the debt snowball vs debt avalanche technique to payoff your debt. One thing’s for sure is that you should work hard at debt payoff sooner rather than later.
8. Cut your Bills in Half
Cutting your monthly bills in half will literally save you hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars every month. You’ll be amazed at how some simple little changes can cut your electricity bill in half or how some smarter moves will save you on your grocery bill. These little changes can give you big wiggle room in your monthly budget.
9. Practice Frugal Living Habits
Adopting a frugal lifestyle can also help you to stop living paycheck to paycheck. Frugal habits are little practices that are super easy to follow and translates to thousands of dollars saved each month.
Being frugal doesn’t mean being a cheapskate; it simply means being smarter with your money so that you can save and spend it on things that are worth your while… like vacations, a house, or whatever other luxury you’ve been dreaming of!
So that’s it, guys! These tips on how to stop living paycheck to paycheck will help your rework your finances, help you get ahead on your bill payments and get you one step closer towards financial freedom. When you combine all of the above, magic happens. No, seriously, you will be able to find some extra dollars in your budget each month even if though you thought it wasn’t possible. You can do it! All you need to do is start!
Are there any additional tips that you’d add to this list? Share with us in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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Until next time,
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