I was stuck living a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle for years.
Back when I was still working my office job, I was earning good money, yet before the month ends, I would always find myself constantly scrambling to make the ends meet.
I would always find myself broke waiting for the next paycheck to come.
And this was my normal for years and I thought that was okay.
But the problem with living this type of lifestyle is, once an unexpected expense comes, you’ll find yourself scraping for every dollar you can find just to cover for that expense or you’re left with no other choice but to rely on your credit cards — burying yourself in even more debt.
Constantly stretching your budget, always scrambling to make the ends meet until the next paycheck comes can be very stressful, overwhelming and exhausting.
I tell you, every day, it felt like I was stuck in a never-ending cycle of debt and it seemed like no matter what I do, getting ahead financially was just not possible.
And chances are since you’re here, you might be feeling this way too.
I get you.
I know that being stuck in a paycheck to paycheck cycle can make you feel that this is just how it’s going to be for you for the rest of your life.
But it’s not.
It is possible for you to break free from the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
Sure, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take consistent effort and discipline but it is definitely possible for you to get ahead and financially thrive!
You just have to be willing to do the work necessary to help you break free from this negative cycle.
And to help you get started, here are 5 easy ways to help you stop living paycheck to paycheck…
Figure out what the problem is…
This was the very first step that I took.
The income that was coming in every month was barely enough to cover my monthly expenses — but why was this happening?
Before you can start looking for ways to break free from the paycheck to paycheck cycle, you must first diagnose the problem.
Often, it’s just so easy to believe that we’re stuck living paycheck to paycheck because we’re not earning enough.
But this may not always be the case.
If we only take the time to sit down and take a really hard look at how we are spending our money, the results might just surprise us.
In my case, it was definitely my spending habits. I was not making smart choices with how I chose to spend my money.
And that was the main reason why I was constantly scrambling to make the ends meet until my next paycheck comes.
So, sit down and take a close look at how you’re managing your money.
Could it be an income problem? Do you need to look for ways to increase your income?
Or is it a spending problem?
Find your why and focus on it…
Saving money has always been so difficult for me.
For years, I worked in a very stressful 8-5 office job, earning good money but had zero savings, no emergency fund and I was living paycheck to paycheck.
And the reason why it was so easy for me to allow myself to live like that was that I never really had any financial goals.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my money.
I didn’t know what my why was.
Why I wanted to save. Why I wanted to build an emergency fund and why I wanted to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
I didn’t have the motivation to improve my financial situation.
Finding your why and focusing on it will make it so much easier for you to make the sacrifices and changes needed to help you achieve your financial goals faster.
Because let’s face it, saving money just for the sake of saving is not all fun and it’s not something that you can easily commit to.
So, figure out what your why is and every time you feel like giving up, focus on it.
Let your why fuel you to be consistent in your efforts in breaking free from the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.
Doing this has helped me so much!
Organize your finances…
Not paying close attention to how we’re spending our money is often the reason why we are stuck in the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
So, whether you want to increase your savings, get out of debt or stop living paycheck to paycheck, getting your finances organized will help you achieve it.
I find that one of the benefits of organizing my finances is that it allows me to clearly see the areas that I can easily cut to save money and opportunities to improve my finances.
It gives me a clearer picture of what I need to do to achieve my financial goals.
So, start tracking your spending, create a realistic and effective budget and stick with it, organize every aspect of your finances — you’ll be surprised just how helpful this can be!
Look for ways to reduce your monthly bills…
Often, we are just so used into paying all our monthly bills that we barely even notice how much money we are wasting on a service that we don’t really need.
After having to quit my job, my freelance income was barely enough to cover the basic necessities, I knew that if I wanted to make that work and still have a little extra money left for emergencies, the best way to go was to look for ways to lower my monthly expenses.
Start by reevaluating all your monthly bills. Take a close look at all your expenses.
Do you have any recurring subscriptions that you’re barely using?
How about those big bills, is it possible for you to downsize them?
It’s best to look at all your monthly expenses from a financial perspective, determine what things you’re willing to give up to help alleviate your financial situation.
Start building your emergency fund…
I never really knew how important it is to build an emergency fund until last year.
Eventually, my depression and anxiety made it too impossible for me to go to work every day in a very stressful environment.
So, I had to quit my job without any savings and no emergency fund (I know, a very bad decision, right?).
Because of this, I had to rely on my credit cards and doing this just buried me in even more debt.
This is what happens when you refuse to plan for any unexpected or irregular expenses.
Building an emergency fund helps you deal with emergencies like this without having to add more to your debt.
Start with an amount that you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to set a big amount right away.
Start small and slowly increase it as you go.
I know living paycheck to paycheck can be so stressful at times and it may seem like a never-ending spiral that we can never get out of.
But we can. You have the power to change and improve your financial situation.
You have the ability to break free from the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
You just have to be willing to make the sacrifices needed to achieve it.
Just remember to be patient with yourself, changing our spending habits is not easy, and there will be times that we may fail and that’s okay.
The important thing is to not give up and just keep going.