How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Dated: May 15 2023

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How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Many Americans are caught in a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. If you struggle to make ends meet from one payday to the next, you understand the stress and anxiety that can cause. Here are some strategies to stop living paycheck to paycheck and start putting money toward an emergency fund, retirement, your kids’ college education and other long-term goals.

Figure Out Where Your Money Is Going
The first thing you have to do is understand what you’re spending money on. You might think you know where your money is going, but you might be surprised by how much you spend on takeout, coffee, entertainment and other things that you really don’t need. Those purchases can quickly add up, and they can keep you caught in the paycheck-to-paycheck trap. For a month, make a note of everything you purchase so you can have an accurate understanding of how you’re currently spending money.

Create a Budget
Write down the amount you earn each month (after taxes, health insurance and other deductions). Then figure out how to allocate that money. You need to make sure that you have enough to pay for the essentials, such as housing, utilities, food and transportation. Once you have accounted for those, you can figure out how to cover other expenses.

You may have to reduce, or even eliminate, spending in some areas to cover all your expenses and have money left over for the future. For example, if you eat out a lot or grab coffee on the way to work every morning, cook at home more often and make your own coffee. It might be less convenient, but it can save you a bundle and help you get started on the path toward financial security. Look for inexpensive or free forms of entertainment. For instance, you can stay at home and watch TV or visit a local park instead of going out to dinner and seeing a movie in a theater. 

Pay Off Debt
If you currently have high-interest credit card debt, it’s probably one of the main reasons why you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Resolve to pay it off as quickly as possible. If you haven’t already, look for a balance transfer credit card with low or no interest or consider a debt consolidation loan. 

While you’re working on paying off your debt, don’t pile more debt on top of it. That might mean that you will have to forgo something you want or postpone a purchase until you can save up the money. 

Increase Your Income
If these steps won’t help you reach your goal as fast as you would like, you may need to boost your income. You might want to take on a part-time job or side gig or find a way to earn money from a hobby. Even working a few extra hours per week can make a difference in your total income and help you stop living paycheck to paycheck. 

 

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Rob LaBrecque

Since entering the real estate industry in 2016, I've received consistent recognition for outstanding performance, backed by over 20 years of sales and management experience, including roles at top co....

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