Living paycheck to paycheck is not an optimal way to manage your finances. Doing so often pushes you into spending more money on financial products (because you’re desperate), and can cause stress in your life as you realize you are only 1 paycheck from personal financial disaster.
However, if you are living paycheck to paycheck, you are not alone. According to a 2017 report by CareerBuilder.com, you 4 out of 5 workers are living paycheck to paycheck. And it’s not just low income workers who are living paycheck to paycheck – 1 in 10 workers making over $100,000 a year also report living paycheck to paycheck.
So what’s the best way to avoid this personal finance trap and not be a statistic? The key: you need to Save Money. Having some savings will allow you to have an emergency fund and be able to cover all of your expenses and pay down expensive debt. Ok, you ask, living paycheck to paycheck means that I’m spending every dime I make – how can I save money? There are two ways to find money in your monthly income, cut costs or earn more money. Some strategies:
Negotiate your bills.
You may automatically waive off the idea of cutting costs – with the notion that you are already doing everything you can – but are you?
- If your credit is good, you can often reduce your interest rates on your credit cards by making one phone call. Banks are in tough competition with each other and losing you as a customer will be something they want to avoid. Call customer service and find out if they are willing to offer you a reduced interest rate or if they have a card program to which you can transfer your current balance. You might also want to shop around for credit card deals, there are several programs that offer low interest rates and zero fee balance transfers.
- Negotiate your phone bill. Since you can now take your number with you to any carrier, why not shop around on rates? With Wi-Fi almost everywhere, do you really use all that data each month? Call your current provider and ask to move to a cheaper plan.
- The insurance industry is highly competitive. If you haven’t called around to shop rates, you may be surprised how much money you can save to move to a different carrier. Home and auto insurance is often discounted if you package them together.
You didn’t think you could read a personal finance article without seeing the B-word, did you? Well, we didn’t want to disappoint you. There is no way around it, an essential part of your financial strategy is having a monetary plan with goals. We’re not going into all the details of coming up with a budget here, but if you want to get serious about your money, it’s really worth your time and trouble to evaluate where all your money goes and see if you can cut corners a little to put some extra cash towards savings or debt. Bite the bullet and start now.
Earn more money. Again, you may feel that this tip is obvious and you feel like you are already earning as much money as possible. However, you probably have hidden skills that you could capitalize on.
- Become a personal shopper. You’d be surprised what people will pay for convenience. With online shopping exploding, you could advertise your services as a professional shopper and do the shopping for people all in the comfort of your own home on the computer. Grocery stores are now offering same day pickup or delivery, and these stores need shoppers to fulfill orders and deliver them.
- Are you passionate about a hobby or specific topic? Start a blog (free blogging software and online sites exist) and use Google ads to earn income while you build a following for your weekly rants.
- Become a professional delivery person. Amazon is now hiring delivery people in all 50 states; all you need is a car. The explosive growth of online purchases means that more companies are looking for people with access to a GPS device (i.e. your phone) and their own transportation to bring goods to the consumer’s doorstep.