If you’re like most people in this world, you probably are living paycheck to paycheck. This means you have just enough money to get your monthly expenses paid, but after your bills are paid, you have very little money leftover… and that’s no way to live.
All too often you’ll hear people say, “Well, as long as my bills are paid, I’ll be alright.” For some people, that very well may be fine but for most, it’s quite exhausting, and borderline depressing. According to the American Psychological Association, financial stress is the number one cause of stress among Americans.
If only there was a way for you to have more control over your money…
Well, having more control over your money is indeed a great way to combat the seemingly never-ending paycheck to paycheck cycle, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of solution. To gain control over your money, it needs to be broken down into many different actions on your part, and a lot of it will come from figuring out how to lower your monthly expenses and making certain lifestyle changes.
So if you’re ready to break that exhausting paycheck to paycheck cycle, get ready to work and flex that discipline muscle. It’s not going to be easy but it’s also going to be well worth the effort you put forth. You’re going to feel really good looking at your bank account on paydays and not seeing that dollar amount in the same place it was the previous payday.
Here are some of the most effective ways to end your paycheck to paycheck cycle:
Cook at Home More Often
You never realize just how much you spend on eating out until you look at your monthly bank statement and see that you spent well over $200 in dining out… That’s outrageous when you’re living paycheck to paycheck! You could earn back more than half of that money simply by cooking at home more often.
Cooking at home means that you have the potential to have leftovers for work the next day, also, depending on what you cook, you can take that meal and turn it into a totally different meal, if you’re someone who’s not a fan of leftovers. For example, if you make spaghetti and grow tired of it, you can take your spaghetti sauce and add chili powder and beans to it, and you’ve just made a fresh pot of chili.
Learning how to stretch your meals will ultimately stretch your bank account… even if you just do it temporarily.
Switch to Alternative Electricity
So many people are making the switch to alternative electricity these days. True enough, it helps protect the environment, but if we’re being honest here, lots of people are really making the switch because it lowers your monthly utility bill.
In choosing an alternative supplier, you’ll no longer have to deal with fluctuating utility bills every month as you will pay a monthly flat rate. This option is more popular and optional for homeowners and renters alike.
Learn to Say No
Maybe it’s a Friday night and all your friends are hitting up the local bar for “Happy Hour.” They, of course, invite you to come but you just paid all your bills and can’t afford to go. Instead of saying “sure, I’ll see you after work,” you actually should be saying “I can’t this time.”
Your friends might shame you for not going, but the thing you have to get comfortable wrapping your mind around is the fact that they don’t pay your bills, you do… nor is it their paycheck hitting your account… it’s yours. So get comfortable saying “no,” and if you have to, say it with authority so that there won’t be further ridicule or shaming.
Generate Additional Income
Sometimes to escape the paycheck to paycheck cycle means generating another paycheck to hit your account… This is what you would call a side hustle. Whether you decide to start your own e-commerce business or start a part-time gig, there’s nothing wrong with working hard for your money, and sometimes it’s absolutely necessary in order for you to reach the financial freedom you desire.
Another way to generate additional income is to strive to make more money with your current employer… This is what you would call aiming for a promotion. When you’re aiming for a promotion, you’re going to have to make certain sacrifices to climb the corporate ladder.
Working late, coming in early, saying no, and even sacrificing your energy are all things you will have to do to show how serious you are about wanting your promotion. Getting the promotion might be hard and stressful but once you see a larger paycheck hitting your account, it will all be worth it.