Monday, August 31, 2015

Living Paycheck to Paycheck Here's How to Fix It


Americans are living above their means, drowning in debt and the problem is getting worse.  Many Americans are still foreclosing on their homes, filing for bankruptcy, getting their paychecks garnished, losing their jobs or experiencing other financial crises. Many Americans spend their entire paycheck the same day of within a week of being paid.

Many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and it crosses multiple income ranges. According to a July 2015 Nielsen survey 55 percent reported living paycheck-to-paycheck earning $50,000 or less each year, and 24 percent earn between $100,000 and $150,000.

Some Americans have moved down an income level from upper-middle class to middle class, middle class to lower-income, lower-income to poverty or from poverty to below poverty due to the economy. Many are still recovering from the effects of the 2008 recession and 2010 government shutdown. Many Americans are forced to live on less money while other Americans are finding it difficult to live on less for several reasons:  1) they do not know how, 2) they do not want to or 3) they are in denial about their financial situation.  

In some instances, Americans live paycheck to paycheck because they do not know where their money is going. They do not have a budget or track their spending. If they become unemployed, they have no backup plan, and little to no savings to recover from a financial crisis. 

Many school systems do not teach financial literacy. Unfortunately, students who are not financially literate grow up to be adults who are not financially literate. These same adults develop bad spending habits, have bad credit and file for bankruptcy or foreclosure. If you are living paycheck to paycheck find ways to reduce your spending by at least 30 percent.  Here are 16 superb ways that will help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

  1. Needs. Avoid buying things you do not need.
  2. Risky. Do not use payday loans or cash advances. Stop cashing checks and use direct deposit.  
  3. Budget. Create a budget to determine what you are spending your money on then determine ways to reduce spending. Track spending daily for a month. Use Word, Excel or software like or budget apps on your cell phone.
  4. Comparison Shop. Compare prices with at least three companies to see which has the best deal. Ask if the company will honor competitor prices.
  5. Generic. Buy generic brands for food, drinks, cereal, frozen foods, canned goods, paper products, dry goods, condiments and prescriptions.
  6. Cash. Pay cash for everything. Scrutinize every dollar you spend and why you spent it.
  7. Automate. Automate bill payment by using online banking or pay bills online through your provider’s website (utilities, car payment, rent, etc.).
  8. Eat at home. Skip buying lunch every day and eating out. Cook meals at home and take leftovers for lunch. Plan meals and use a shopping list.
  9. Sell Items. Sell new or used items on eBay or Craigslist for extra cash.
  10. Educate. Take a budgeting or money management class or read articles or books on the subject.
  11. Online.  Look for coupons and specials at online websites such as or Use coupons and buy items on sale but do not use it as an excuse to buy something that you do not need.
  12. Extra. Find ways to increase your income through cash only jobs or part-time jobs.
  13. Get assistance.  Borrow money from friends or family members. Apply for government assistance, get help from your local church or social organizations like the Salvation Army or American Red Cross.
  14. Bulk. Buy items in bulk by shopping at wholesale or discount stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s.
  15. Utilities. Buy the cheapest plan available.
  16. Downgrade. Downgrade all your services such as cable, internet, and cell phone or consider eliminating services. Sell your car and catch public transportation.

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