Living paycheck-to-paycheck can be overwhelming, especially when there are a few days every month when your bank account balance is at zero and you don’t have any money for necessities, let alone if your car breaks down or you have a dental emergency. So how can you break the cycle?
We all have been there at one point or another so what is the difference between one person succeeding at saving or making money vs a person who is struggling to make ends meet living paycheck to paycheck?
If you need some help financially to get out of debt than you may want to consider a debt settlement to help you or you can take these hacks to to help you get started.
Budget with long-term goals in mind.
Budgeting is simply balancing your expenses with your income. If they don’t balance and you spend more than you make, you will have a problem. Many people don’t realize that they spend more than they earn and slowly sink deeper into debt every year.
We’ve all spent time creating unrealistic budgets that are nearly impossible stick to, but using an accurate budget to forecast your spending for the year can really help you with your long term financial planning.
Find a Format That Works for You
Whether it’s a simple Excel document or software that links to your bank accounts and credit cards. Keep track of your receipts and regularly evaluate your spending habits so that you can adjust your budget
when expenses are higher or lower than expected. When you receive unexpected bonuses such as tax refunds or holiday money gifts, put the money in a separate savings account dedicated to important things
like your vacation fund, a new vehicle, your first home or home renovations, emergencies, or your retirement.
Budgeting can be simple –
When you’re broke, avoid temptation to use your credit cards to buy things you can’t afford. Instead of engaging in social activities that are going to run up a huge tab, find less expensive ways to have fun, such
as going to the beach or to art museums that let you pay whatever you can afford. Being mindful of your long-term goals will help you stick to your financial plan.
Avoid the trap of payday loans
It’s so easy to ask for a payday loan when unexpected expenses come up, but this can become a never-ending, high-interest trap.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has studied payday loans and the negative impact they have on borrowers. In their report, “CFPB Data Point: Payday Lending,” they found that:
- 80% of loans are rolled over or renewed every 14 days, leading borrowers to pay more in fees than the original amount of their loan.
- Signing up for a payday loan makes borrowers more likely to stay in debt 11 months or longer.
- Only 15% of borrowers are able to repay their debt without re-borrowing.
If you are caught in a cycle of advancing funds before payday, slowly taper off the amount you borrow by $20-$50 each time, and slightly increase the payoff amount to bring the balance down.
Cut out unneeded expenses
Monitor all bank activity and service charges, which can change without you noticing, and negotiate lower fees. For example, some accounts are required to have a minimum balance and if you go under that number, there are penalty fees.
Look for ways to trim your monthly expenses, such as:
- Getting rid of a land line or cable TV
- Turning the lights off in rooms no one is using
- Shop for fresh produce at local farmer’s markets instead of at expensive gourmet grocery stores
- Carpool or find a cheaper way of communiting to work.
Learn how to manage your money by asking for advice
Many people feel intimidated by money management and investing, and the solution to this is knowledge. Find an expert who will give you advice, whether that’s a family member who repeatedly wins in the
stock market, or a financial expert who will take a look at your situation and offer some specific money management and debt relief solutions. There are also lots of online resources available.
Yes, there are a lot of “debt traps” that can keep you stuck in a stressful paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, but they can be avoided. It takes awareness and discipline, but diligently coming up with a strategy and
adjusting your habits is the only way to break the cycle.
Schedule a free consultation today for a risk-free debt assessment. The only thing you have to lose is your debt.