A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck. They might, in fact, be in the majority right now. There's no shame in that, because odds are high that everyone has had to do it one time or another. There are things you can do to make this easier, though – as well as techniques you can follow so you won't have to do it anymore. You'll find both in these 8 tips for living paycheck to paycheck.
1 Take Stock of the Sure Things
The first thing you want to do is sit down and take a look at your bills. You want to always be aware of the bills you have to pay. Rent, mortgage payments, car payments, et cetera – know the things that have to come out every month, the ones you can't push back or skip.
2 Categorize Your Spending
Now, you need to go through all the charges you have on your debit cards or credit cards. See what you've been spending money on, and assign each item to its own category. Groceries, clothes, essentials, luxury items, and so on – everything needs to be in its own categories. This will let you see what has to be spent, and what you might be able to cut back on or cut out entirely.
3 Separate Your Finances
That last step may end up hurting your soul a little, but you can see where your money is going. That in turn will make it easier to separate your finances. What I mean by that is that you should now create two master categories: what is necessary and what's not. In the “What's Not” category, you can now go through and start to see what you can really cut out. You can also look for alternatives. Like, if you get your hair colored every month or six weeks, start doing it yourself at home.
4 Save the Excess
Odds are, you're going to have a decent amount of money left over at this point. Even if it's not a phenomenal amount, you're still saving something. So, start a savings account for it. That way, it can also start building up interest.
5 Hands off the Savings
This is important: don't touch that savings account! You may start it just because you want to have savings. You might start it because you want an emergency fund. You may also be saving up for something in particular – a car, a trip, a wedding, or even a cell phone! If that's the case, don't touch your savings until it's time to purchase the item for which you're saving.
6 Get Caught up
You can also use those savings to get caught up on your bills, or on your debt. That can allow you to get caught up on the principle amounts you owe, rather than, in the case of credit cards, simply paying the minimum payment. Ultimately, that can end up costing you even more money.
7 Cut out the Non-Essentials
There may be other things you don't really need. For instance, if you can, you may want to get rid of your landline if you have a cell phone. A lot of people are doing this. I don't even have a landline anymore. Since you can basically make calls through the computer now as well, it's really not necessary. There may be many other things like this you can get rid of, so you can reap the monthly savings.
8 Live the Budget
It's easy to write up a budget. It's harder to actually live it. You can do it, though, if you're determined to get ahead. Don't feel bad if you slip up; don't use that as a reason to quit. Everybody slips.
You'll be surprised at how quickly your savings account fills up. You'll have more and more money every month. What do you do to save money?
Top Photo Credit: a_anya
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