How to get out of living paycheck to paycheck

How to get out of living paycheck to paycheck

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 4, 2013

Living life paycheck to paycheck is a burden few us want, but many of us carry. It’s not easy going through life knowing that your bill payments and financial stability depend exclusively on your next paycheck. What happens if you lose your job? Or if your car needs repairs? Or if you get injured and are forced to take time off work? Living paycheck to paycheck is something you should avoid, but if you’re stuck in that rut then here’s some advice:


To stop living paycheck to paycheck, throw those credit cards away! Only buy what you can afford with cash to prevent spending money you don’t have.


Want to start saving money? Make yourself a budget. If you know where your money is going, it’s easy to target the problem areas that cause you to spend unnecessarily.


If you’re trying to turn your finances around, stop eating at restaurants. Even though fast food seems cheap, buying and preparing food yourself is cheaper.


Want to stop living paycheck to paycheck? Cut out unnecessary expenses. As nice as hundreds of channels or the newest smartphone might seem, these expenditures aren’t necessary.


Everything counts when you’re trying to cut corners. Maximize your income by seeking a second job, requesting more hours, or working from home freelance writing. There’s money out there – if you seek it out, you might be surprised with what you find.


Save, save, save! If you’re trying to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, saving even a few dollars each month can help. Rather than spending a few bucks on a coffee on your way to work, throw that change in your saving account instead.


Having trouble making ends meet? Avoid high interest loans. No matter how tight things might get, high interest rates might not be worth it. Find other ways to scrimp instead.


If you’re having trouble making ends meet, cut out luxuries. As nice as a vacation might sound, now is not the time. Try a “staycation” instead – vacation at home with your family rather than shelling out cash for plane tickets and hotel rooms.


If you’re trying to get out of a financial rut, never buy things full price. Even if you have to go to two different stores for groceries or have to scour sale racks for deals, it’s worth it. Even a few dollars saved here and there adds up over time.


Trying to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle? Turn down the heat! Utilities are very expensive, especially during the winter. Throw on a sweater and turn the thermostat down. Your wallet will thank you.

Our last piece of advise is to build an emergency fund. If you can save enough money to cover your living expenses for 3-4 months in the event of a job loss, or to cover unexpected, emergency expenses, then you can feel comfortable about your short-term financial future and enjoy the added safety. Building such a fund might require that you cut back on spending for a few months, but the trade off is worth it. After all, the best time to prepare for an emergency situation is before the emergency occurs!

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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