Living Paycheck to Paycheck? Tips for Managing.
Life can be pretty rough when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Whether you’re transitioning between jobs, freelancing, or starting out on your first job out of college in a new city.
If you’re just figuring out how you’re going to contend with the daily stressors like groceries, transportation expenses, student loan or credit card debt, and rent can really put you on the edge.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck now, or want to be prepared for such a situation, read on in this guide so you know where to cut back on spending.
Find out our top picks on how to pick up an extra income stream and other ways to manage your limited budget while you try to land a new job or earn that promotion.
What Does It Mean To Live From Paycheck to Paycheck?
If you love reading frugal living blogs, then you might be really familiar with tips and tricks to living from paycheck to paycheck!
Living from Paycheck to check means that basically rely on your paycheck to get by each month. You have no savings or money in the bank after all your bills have been paid! Basically, it is impossible for you to meet your financial obligation should you not get a paycheck.
If this is your situation, try to avoid stress, by learning more about how to manage the money that you have.
We are going to share a few actionable tips you can use to avoid living paycheck to paycheck or even manage your situation.
We also wanted to take the opportunity to let you know that we use Affiliate links on some of our blog posts. This means that we could make a commission if you click on an affiliate link and purchase something. Please check out our full disclaimer and policy page here.
How Do I Avoid Living Paycheck to Paycheck?
By getting your financial situation under control as early as possible, you will be setting yourself up for better success! We are going to share are top tips on getting your money under control ASAP.
1// Create a Budget
If you don’t already have a budget, make one.
Budget sheets are a great way to calculate and visualize where your money is going. Budgeting is easy in 2019, there are hundreds of apps you can download to track your spending.
Once you know what your spending habits are you can set your limits. If you’re not into apps, consider finding some Excel budget templates to build out your budget.
If you already have a budget, it’s time to start making adjustments. Put in your new current amount and go line by line looking for places to cut back.
Budgeting too much on groceries?
Start shopping at a discount grocery store like Lidl or Aldi, look for coupon deals, and give up on expensive name brand items.
Are Netflix and Hulu subscriptions too high?
Cut them out entirely.
Spending too much on makeup and beauty products? Sales are your new best friend. You may opt for less expensive brand recommendations or stock up during major deals.
Keep this going until you’re within your budget’s means, or at least close enough that an additional income stream can close the gap.
If you want to improve your situation, budget in 5 or 10 dollars to go towards a high-yield savings account.
We offer many FREE monthly budget templates that you can grab in order to start your budgeting.
2// Pretend You Have Less Money
This is a great way to trick your mind into spending less.
This will really help you save even more money. If you normally spend $200 on groceries, why not work on spending only $175 on groceries the next time you go grocery shopping?
Saving money on food can really help. Find other hacks to save $5 dollars or $10 dollars. All of this will eventually add up in the end!
For example, these online shopping hacks have helped me save extra money every time I shop.
Off course you shouldn’t be shopping if you are living paycheck to paycheck. You should be using our tips to get out of the situation.
By pretending you have much less than you actually have, you be able to save even a little extra to get you through the month.
3// Multiple Income Streams
The burgeoning gig economy makes finding a new job with a flexible schedule that works for you easier than ever. If you can find a way to have multiple streams of income even with a full-time job, then you are golden.
Popular side hustles include:
- Ride share driving (Lyft, Uber, Juno)
- Delivery (Caviar, UberEats, DoorDash, Instacart, Grubhub)
- Selling clothes you don’t wear anymore on PoshMark
- Renting out your spare room on AirBnB
- Freelancing or blogging
- Becoming a Pinterest Virtual Assistant
To make a good amount of money with a ride-share job, you’ll need a clean, comfortable ride.
Use your savings from your new budget to make a down payment on a used car.
Even though that down payment feels like a heavy expense, vehicles are an investment, and in many parts of the county, the only way to get to work, so grin and bear it.
By finding ways to add multiple income streams to your bottom line, you will be able to live much more comfortably. Use these 9 steps to turn your hobby into a money making side hustle!
4// Organize Your Bills
Bill deadlines piling up? Make sure you aren’t just making payments, but making smart payments.
First, contact the sender to see if the bill amount is correct and if there’s any way that amount could be reduced or put into a payment plan.
Explaining your financial situation might help.
If that doesn’t work, wait until you have the money—without missing the deadline—to pay the bill.
The stress of a bill might make you want to pay it off immediately even if the deadline is weeks away.
It’s always best to avoid dipping into your savings or adding onto your credit card debt when you can, so if you can, plan your deadlines to coincide with paydays.
5// Build An Emergency Fund
Building an emergency fund is the best thing you will ever do for yourself and your family if you have one. Emergencies can strike at any time because they are emergencies.
And if you can have a place to dip into when this happens it will be much better than borrowing money from friends or credit cards.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck starting an emergency fund even with $5.00 a week will be extremely helpful.
What is an emergency fund?
An emergency fund is an account that you set up to put in all your emergency funding in case a disaster strikes and you need money.
It can be an emergency such as:
- Trip to the ER
- Car breakdown
- House repairs
- Loss of employment
Why we are in the topic of emergency funds, you might want to also look into building an “In Case of Emergency Binder“!
6// Pay Down Debt Fast
If you can get rid of the debts that are eating up a majority of your income each month, you will have more money. Sounds simple?
Debt is the number one reason why a lot of people fall behind. I have been there. In fact, I still have large debts that I am tackling.
The key is that I doing everything I can to get rid of this debt. And I still have an emergency fund should I desperately need it.
If you really want to stop living paycheck to paycheck consider finding a way to get rid of those debts. You might have to squeeze even tighter and consider living on a much tighter budget to save and pay off debt!
7// Break the Cycle of Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Spend less and make more.
If only it were that simple, but actionable steps like the former often are the most applicable pieces of advice someone living on a tight budget can use.
There’s no shame in having to tighten your belt; CareerBuilder found over 70% of U.S. workers are also living paycheck to paycheck.
Whether it’s because you were laid off or because now you have additional expenses, it’s easy to be depressed by the reality of your situation, but there’s also plenty of room for hope.
Let close friends and family members know so they can help you out, whether financially, by offering advice or providing you with some job referrals.
With some luck, hard work smart maneuvering and sacrifices, you’ll be able to stretch your paycheck beyond that 15-day window, and eventually, find yourself coming out ahead.
8// Invest In Your Future
Don’t forget to look ahead, as you are paying off debt and as your living conditions improve, consider investing. This way, even if the future is looking unsure, you will have something to fall back on.
Find a way to invest in your future financially and be proactive about it.
Read this now:
If you are looking for extra ways to save money, find them here!
About the Author:
Andee is a recent college graduate from Arizona State University with a love of writing, the outdoors, and funky cafes. You can usually find her hiking or planning her next trip. She is passionate about travelling, her family, and the perfect cup of coffee. Find her on Instagram as @andee_schmidt!
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