Living from one paycheck to another can be very trying. You may feel you’re tapping in one place, unable to make any sort of financial progress, all the while struggling to maintain your dignity and live a normal life. If you work hard and can still barely make ends meet, try some of these six ways to manage your income and your spending, to finally advance.
Owing money to a bank is easy. There’s nobody you have to look in the eye and nobody to call you and ask when you’ll be able to give back what you’ve borrowed, so it’s no problem for you to spend more than you actually have, usually by putting money on your credit card. However, don’t forget that the interests and fees will chip away significant pieces of your paycheck, preventing you from getting ahead. Although you can’t get out of debt within just a month, make a plan and start returning what you owe one bit at a time, stop using your credit card and once you’re debt-free, you’ll be in a much better financial situation.
It may sound impossible since your budget is always limited by what you earn, but once you get out of debt, you can use some of your money to create some sort of an emergency fund. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ll see what you have left at the end of the month, and put that into your savings account. That simply won’t happen. Instead, as soon as you get your paycheck, put some 10% or even 20% of your salary into that account and see that you have several months’ worth of living expenses set aside.
When you get a bonus or earn some money on the side, there are so many things that you want to do with that money, like travelling or buying those expensive shoes you’ve been checking out for months. Even though you should indulge yourself occasionally, and you shouldn’t allow your life to become simply eating, sleeping and working, you should also be smart about it. Find out how you can get bonuses as often as possible, or learn how to get paid online easily by completing surveys, and then put that money away until you have enough to fall back on if anything unexpected happens.
This can prove to be a difficult task since you feel like you can’t really spend less than you already do, but there are some tricks left in the hat for you to try. First of all, try writing down all that you spend for a month or two and then see what expenses can be avoided. For example, maybe you can cook more often to save money on take-out meals or pay less for your gym by stop going there every day, and instead jogging or cycling several times a week. Organize a game or movie night at your place to save money on cinema tickets or expensive drinks at the bar or a club. Whenever you can walk instead of paying for bus fares or getting a taxi, and visit your local thrift or discount stores instead of buying branded clothes.
When you have a certain amount of money for a whole month, you have to be very careful with budgeting. Your goal should be to have your budget on paper or your tablet, track your expenses and as soon as you see you’re running out of money, stop spending it. If you want this to work, you have to think ahead and not let your telephone bill, your taxes or your regular car maintenance surprise you and leave you penniless, just because you didn’t count on them. You also can’t allow yourself to spend insanely huge amounts of money on a spur, without planning it ahead.
Changing your spending habits and improving your life along with it isn’t something that can happen overnight, and it certainly isn’t simple. You’ll have to give yourself time and not reprimand yourself if you make mistakes along the way. Know what your final goal is and work towards it slowly, but steadily, not losing your patience when things don’t go the way you planned them in the time that you expected.
Without money, life today would be practically impossible. However, if you feel your finances are running your life for you, learn how to control them to stop living from paycheck to paycheck and reach the position in life and society that you feel you deserve.
Marie Nieves is a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on Smooth Decorator. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.