Living paycheck to paycheck has become an unfortunate necessity for many Americans. By the time our next paycheck arrives, our previous one is spent. There are times however, when our previous paycheck runs out before our next one comes in. If that has happened to you, you are aware of the stress and frustration this can cause. There are some guidelines you can follow to help you make it through to the next payday and prevent this from happening again.
Budget by the Week
Some of you may have a rough budget outline, some of you don’t have any budget created. You need to create a weekly budget to ensure you don’t use up your paycheck before your next paycheck comes in. To create a budget you should list all items that need to be paid that week. This can include the rent, car payment, cell phone bill, etc. You will then divvy your paycheck up among these items. Pay the more important items first – like your rent and electricity. Others may have to wait until your next paycheck. One school of thought always says to pay yourself first. That is, make a small contribution to a savings account so you can start building an emergency fund.
Stretch your Paycheck
Once you’ve divvied up your paycheck you should look for ways to save money and stretch your paycheck. Consider lowering your cell phone plan if you always have unused minutes at the end of the month. Start clipping coupons and buying sale items to save on your grocery bill. Contact your insurance company and consider raising your car insurance deductible which can lower your insurance bill. Purchase clothing at consignment or thrift stores. You may be surprised at how much further you can stretch your paycheck. Turn this saving strategy into a game to see how far you make your paycheck last.
Earn Extra Money
One way to stretch your money further is to make more of it! A little bit of extra income can make a big difference in your life. Look for simple ways you can earn some extra cash. Perhaps you can mow your neighbor’s yards, babysit their kids or walk their dogs. Consider a part-time job at a restaurant or retail store. Look around your house, garage, and attic for items you no longer need or use. You may be able to sell these at a garage sale, consignment store, or even online at an auction site. Once you are start looking and thinking, you may find a host of ideas for earning a little extra income every month.
These guidelines can help you make it through to your next paycheck. If followed diligently you may even find yourself able to start saving money, paying off debts, and stop living paycheck to paycheck.