Life can have its difficulties, and our finances don’t always work out the way we want them to – whether it’s due to a sudden change in employment or the cost of living is just too high compared to what you’re bringing in monthly. Living paycheck to paycheck can be quite a challenge so today I’m bringing you some tips on budgeting paycheck to paycheck.
Tip #1: Lay out your monthly income and expenses dollar for dollar, starting with the priority recurring items, meaning they need to get paid every month. These would include expenses such as:
- Car payments
- Phone bill
Tip #2: Cut back on some of the more frivolous expenses, i.e., fast food and movies, by making more budget-friendly meals at home (numerous recipes can be found on Pinterest) and opting for a Netflix subscription instead of cable TV. Another good way to cut costs is by cutting coupons and planning meals or outings based on the coupons that you have available.
Tip #3: Use a phone app that links to your bank accounts to help you navigate your budget, as well as send you alerts when you get off track with your spending. One of the more popular ones is Mint.com, just make sure you do your research before downloading anything.
Tip #4: Do your best to stay away from credit cards. They typically only lead to more debt, while negatively affecting your credit. Instead, work with your creditors to set up payment plans based on what you can afford.
Tip #5: Pick up a side job by utilizing your talents, passions, or hobbies. For example, if you love baking, start selling your baked goods using online marketing (Facebook Marketplace or LetGo are good places to start). Putting those talents to use will not only bring in extra income, but you’ll enjoy doing it.
Tip #6: Treat yourself to a small personal desire, such as a new $10 pair of headphones or a fancy dessert. It’s important to give yourself that sense of freedom and accomplishment, and remind yourself that budgeting shouldn’t be viewed as a negative. You took the step to make the changes in your finances to gain more financial freedom, and you should be rewarded for that, just make sure you set the goal and make the purchase.
Tip #7: If you receive a year-end bonus, your tax return or something similar, plan to make payments on large expenses and/or any bills you may be behind on. Handle your priorities first and then set some aside in a savings account. This type of income can be a huge advantage if you’re struggling, because it allows you the opportunity to make the right changes and to pay down some of your outstanding debt.
Tip #8: Speaking of a savings account, working this into your budget can be feasible; it will just take a bit more discipline. Make it a part of your budget by putting any loose change or bills into a jar. Once the jar is full, make a deposit. Start by saving what you can afford, and just know that even the smallest amounts count. It can also be helpful to think of it as paying yourself for that week or month.
Tip #9: Before making a purchase, ask yourself some questions: “Is this a need or a want? Do I really need this? Is this item necessary? Can it wait and be purchased another time?” These questions will help you determine if the item is worth the payout.
Tip #10: Change your mindset and become more disciplined. You need to have the desire to stop living paycheck to paycheck, and only you can make the changes to your finances to break the cycle.
By reading this post you’re taking the first step in making a change, which means you’re one step closer to being financially stable. Just know that you are not alone, and that there are resources out there for you.
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