Living paycheck to paycheck is not a preferred lifestyle yet millions of people continue to live this way. In part it’s due to a lack of income, but as a whole, most people live this lifestyle due to poor spending habits.
Cost of Living Paycheck to Paycheck
When you constantly scrabble to pay bills, it’s only a matter of time before the delicate balancing act fails. What occurs after is a domino effect of late payments, followed by missed payments. Initially, it’s payments due on credit cards that you pay late. However, as time progresses the list will include your mortgage and car payments too. Additionally, on top of poor credit, you now have added late fees on just about every payment due.
Paying Bills on Time
At this point, with a pile of unpaid bills mounting, you’ll need to find money to bring your bills current. There are mortgage loans available if your mortgage is not beyond 30 days late. However, if your credit score is bad, that may not be a viable option. You can sell items at a garage sale or online or take on a part-time job for the short-term while you bring the bills current.
Sticking to a Budget
Budgeting is very easy. The hard part is sticking to it. Create a household budget that includes your regular monthly bills and quarterly and annual bills too. Your budget should also include estimated allowances for food, gas and essentials. Sticking to a budget lets you track your debt and curtail your spending. You learn that the surplus of money in your account is there to cover periodic expenses and fund things such as a vacation and your retirement.
Reduce Your Spending
It’s almost unbelievable how small daily purchases can add up and sap your expendable cash. For example, you purchase a hot latte on the way to work and when lunch rolls around you head to the deli. Just those two items combined add up to over $10.00 a day. Multiply that by 20 working days, and you have a whopping $200.00 gone. Identifying where you waste money through your budget will allow you to change your habits and spend money wisely.
Debt can mount up quickly. Unfortunately, with interest compounded daily, reducing your debt will take some time. There are a few ways to approach it. You can use the method of paying credit cards beginning with the one that has the highest interest rate or the lowest balance. Some people want to see results fast. For them, the second option works best. The best way, going forward, to reduce debt is not to add any more.
Along with poor spending habits, many people get into trouble because they don’t have money in reserve. When you live paycheck to paycheck without a safety net, any minor problem will become a major one. Everyone needs an emergency savings account that’s there only for emergencies. Some examples include the need for a new home furnace or an exhaust system for your car. By having this account, you’ll prevent the need for borrowing money from your checking established specifically to pay bills.
Rely on Cash
Cash brings to light the cost of items that otherwise go without notice. Give yourself a weekly allowance and once you spend it, it’s gone. This will teach you valuable lessons on how to make money last and ways to reduce wasteful spending.
There are many ways to reduce debt and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. If you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, you can create a budget and reel in spending and put an end to the vicious cycle.