How to Save Your Money Even When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Living from paycheck to paycheck can make you feel as if you will never achieve financial stability. However, this is not true; if you take practical steps to save money regularly, you can thrive financially and even climb out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. The first step is to create a flexible budget. Write down your weekly or biweekly income, and then on a separate sheet in your notebook, you would write down all of your most important expenses such as rent, utilities, clothing, and groceries. Write down the average amount you pay for those bills each month and the due dates of any current bills that are due. Cut out all unnecessary expenses such as gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and apps you rarely use. Here are additional ways to save money when you live paycheck to paycheck.
Open an Emergency Fund
If you live from paycheck to paycheck, it is crucial that you open an emergency fund. When you have adequate emergency savings, you won't need to use a credit card or take out a loan to cover unexpected expenses that occur due to a medical illness, job loss, or a reduction in your work hours. Every pay period, take a portion of your check and deposit it into your emergency fund.
Seek Out Extra Streams of Income
Did you know that finding extra streams of income can assist you in saving money? You can make some income from side gigs and use it to add to your regular savings account or emergency fund. The income from your side gigs means that you can keep more of your regular income and use it to achieve long-term financial goals. Some good side jobs include:
Selling items online
Call center jobs
Retail or fast food jobs
Purchase a Cheaper Car
If your car loan is taking up much of your income every month, it might be time to trade in your current car and purchase a less expensive one to save money. There are plenty of used car dealerships in your area and online that offer affordable and reliable used cars. If you can, save up enough money so that you can pay for the car with cash. By doing this, you'll have one less monthly bill to deal with.
Buy Only Sales Items When Grocery Shopping
Are you tired of spending too much money on food each month? Then you can save money just by only purchasing grocery items that are on sale during the week. Before you go shopping, collect different sales ads from the stores to see which store has the best discounts. Then write down the sales items you plan to buy and stick to your list. If some of your favorite staples are on sale, stock up on them so that you'll make fewer trips to the store. Once you get home, plan your meals around the items you bought.
Develop a Flexible Debt Payment Plan
Paying off debts is one of the best ways to save money when you live paycheck to paycheck. Start by getting copies of your credit reports from these three bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Look over the reports for any errors and dispute them in writing so that they can be removed from the reports. Next, contact your creditors and discuss your financial situation. Then request a payment plan to pay down the debts you owe.
Get Rid of Cable
Cable costs are getting higher these days, and more people are cutting the cord. If you want to significantly save money, then it's a good idea to get rid of cable and seek out alternatives. You can purchase an HD antenna to attach to your TV, or you can subscribe to streaming services such as Hulu or Netflix. With an HD antenna, you can watch all the major TV networks such as CBS and FOX for free.
Conserve More Energy in Your Home
This is another crucial way to save money when you live from paycheck to paycheck. Some ideas for doing this include:
Air-drying your clothes
Turning off lights and other devices when not in use
Handwashing small loads of dishes
Taking shorter showers
Cleaning or replacing furnace and air conditioner filters
Do More DIY
Another fantastic way to save money on a tight budget is to do more DIY around the house. Read books, blogs, and magazines about certain projects that can be done without calling a professional. If you enjoy certain restaurant meals, there are copycat versions online that would taste just as good or even better than what you eat when going out. Learn how to sew or fix buttons and zippers when they break. Talk to older relatives about how to do basic car maintenance. These hacks will save you money.
Lower Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't let high cell phone costs eat up your budget. You can save hundreds of dollars just by lowering your phone bill. Switch to a prepaid carrier, or you can eliminate phone insurance if you're currently satisfied with your carrier. Also, don't upgrade your phone every time your contract is up. Instead, only purchase a new phone when you need to replace it.
Avoid Payday Loans
If you want to save lots of money, don't take out payday loans. This is because you'll pay high service fees just to get the loan. Also, if you don't repay it on time, the lender can come after the money in your account, which could lead to overdrafts. It is better to use money from your emergency fund to pay for unexpected expenses.
Find Free Things to Do
Look around your community for free activities, classes, and fun events for the family to enjoy. For example, most libraries let you check out DVDs for free, so you can have a movie night at home with snacks that are already in your pantry. Also, take free cooking or dance classes at local recreational centers.
It might seem daunting to save money when you live from paycheck to paycheck. But with these strategies, you can thrive financially.