Your paycheck gets deposited, groceries purchased, bills paid, and then you’re broke again until the next payday.
That is the story for almost half of American households, and the vicious cycle is hard to break. It won’t be easy, but you can stop living paycheck to paycheck.
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An NYU study found that about 70 million Americans live in “wealthy hand-to-mouth” households. These are families that own assets like homes, retirement accounts, college funds and cars but yet still live paycheck to paycheck. They spend almost every dollar of their annual income to keep up their lifestyle and pay all the bills.
Why is it happening?
If you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to find the root of the problem. It is probably very simple – you are spending more than you earn. You may not throw your money away on extravagant things, but you are still living above your means.
It’s time to consider making some lifestyle changes. Start by making a list of necessary and optional expenses see where you can save.
If your spending is already very low, ask yourself what you need to survive and reframe your lifestyle choices. That can mean moving to a cheaper apartment, stop eating out, taking the bus to work, making lunch at home, getting rid of the gym membership or get your bills lowered.
There are many people who people survive on very little – look at Mr. Money Mustache. Take a hard look at the choices you have been making and create a budget that will give you the flexibility to save, even if it’s just $50 a month. You can build wealth one dollar at a time.
The mind is a powerful thing. To make real changes in our lives, we need to create a positive shift in our thinking. I’m not talking about The Secret “think it and it shall happen” bullshit. Well, maybe a little.
Having a bigger vision for what you believe is possible for yourself is the first step to getting there. There is truth in the law of attraction. If you feel that you will never be financially stable or you’ll never get out of debt you most likely won’t. That negativity is reinforcing your limitations.
Take full responsibility for your financial circumstances. Your willingness to change it is a key factor in your ability to make better financial decisions.
Remember, prosperity is not about having a big house or ton of money. It is about being happy and living comfortably, and the way to get there is with a positive attitude and motivation.
Breaking the Cycle
Think for a moment on what you’ll gain from breaking the cycle. How will it feel to have extra money at the end of the month? Once you start having money left at the end of every pay cycle, you’ll begin to feel a little freer. Having financial breathing room will significantly reduce your stress.
Give yourself a pay cut. Living slightly below your means will help you stashing away some savings every month to grown an emergency fund. Try to pretend you earn less than you do.
Start a crash savings program and do it in a short period like one to two months. Try saving 5-10% of your paycheck. Set up an automatic transfer to your account so it is easier to stick with it. Roughing it for a short period is all you need to get out of the cycle. Once you see that it is doable, it will be much easier to stay on course.
If cutting expenses aren’t enough, then you need to build more income. Having an additional stream will make a huge difference even if it’s only $100 extra a month. It doesn’t necessarily have to be another job.
If you have a few extra hours a week, work in the sharing economy driving for Uber or Task Rabbit. Think about hobbies you have a figure out if/how you can monetize them. Don’t want to leave the house? There are plenty of legitimate online jobs where you can make a decent amount of cash.
No one said this would be easy, but it will be well worth it in the end. At times you will need support from your friends along your journey. Let go of your pride and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice if you need it.
Rogue Honey Kolsch– Andrews Beer
Article: It’s Expensive to Be Poor.