Money / Financial Planning
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If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you’re not alone. A recent study published in November of last year found that seven out of every 10 U.S. residents live without a financial safety net. While it’s not an ideal situation, there are ways you can make the most of it and (eventually) work yourself out of it.
For anyone who’s dealing with the daily burden of living paycheck to paycheck, we asked financial experts to weigh in and help explain how anyone can make the most of the situation. While their advice can help save money, it also can be used to start building a more solid foundation that can put you on the road to financial independence.
Find Out: Reasons You’re Still Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Also See: 50 Mindless Ways You’re Burning Through Your Paycheck
Get on a Budget
The first thing you’ll want to do is work out a budget and stick to it. Jay Zigmont, founder of Live, Learn, Plan, said it’s critical to stop taking on more debt to help break the cycle.
“Lock your credit cards (away) and make debt not a choice,” Zigmont said. “The first step of getting out of debt is to stop taking debt.”
While credit cards are an obvious factor here, there are other red flags to avoid, including predatory payday loans. Creating a budget can help you steer clear of these pitfalls.
“Budgets are like diets; the best one is the one that works for you,” Zigmont said.
“With my clients, I encourage them to budget for Musts, Shoulds, Coulds and Won’ts,” Zigmont added. “Musts are all of the things that keep a roof over your head and/or you are required to pay. You pay your Musts first before going to your Shoulds. If you are truly paycheck to paycheck, you may never get to your Coulds, which reflects your discretionary spending. Total up your Musts; and, if they are more than you bring home, you either need to cut some spending immediately or take up some side work.”
Negotiate Better Rates
Once you’ve organized your budget, it’s time to see what kind of adjustments you can make for your expenses. In some cases, there could be savings hiding in plain sight, as noted by Principal Attorney Lyle Solomon of Oakview Law Group.
“Look over your current plans to see if there are any areas where you may save money,” Solomon said. “Are you taking advantage of all of the perks included in your phone plan? Do you watch the …….