Worrying about money is one of the main causes of unhappiness and fights in couples. So many long-term relationships end because people aren’t able to talk openly about money and they’re stuck in a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

There is nothing more stressful than not knowing how you’re going to afford to eat before you get paid again.

When living paycheck-to-paycheck, you’re unable to build up wealth and start saving for your future. You’ll never be able to pay for your kids’ college or be set for retirement. You need to know that just because you’re in this situation now, it doesn’t mean you’ll be in this situation forever. It is possible to break the cycle of paycheck-to-paycheck living if you just put the work in!

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7 Tips to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

#1 – Add Up Your Total Debts

Having extreme amounts of debt is a huge reason why so many people are stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. When you’re stuck under thousands of dollars of debt, it seems almost impossible to break that cycle.

Something people need to realize is that they can’t run from their debt, there is no quick fix and the only way to get out of it, is to work on paying it off.

When you are forced to put hundreds of dollars each month towards your minimum debt payments, you run out of money for things you actually need to be spending that money on!

You must be aware of your total amount of debt and figure out when you’ll be able to pay them off. The longer the amount of time you spend in debt, the longer you’ll be paying crazy amounts of interest which just keeps you in this situation longer!

Add up your debts and see just how bad the problem is.

#2 – Start a Budget

I have a feeling if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, you’re either scared of the word budget or you think it means you aren’t going to have any fun. Okay, I get it, budgets aren’t fun. But a budget is actually a great way to increase your freedom and peace of mind.

Budgeting helps you know where your money is going and where you can do better. If you’re really going to commit yourself, you need to find a budget that works well for you!

If you’ve never done a budget before, I strongly suggest trying out the Zero-Based Budget, it’s a really great way to show every dollar where it should go and really be able to reach your goals.

The main thing you need to think about when deciding to start your first budget, is that it’s a lifestyle change. It is not a short-term fix. If you wanted to get fit and healthy you wouldn’t go to the gym, lose 20 pounds, and then go back to being a couch potato.

You need to take control of your finances now, you have the opportunity to change your life forever, and I know you can do this.

#3 – Figure Out Where You Went Wrong

Chances are you’ve made a lot of financial mistakes over your lifetime. There was no one big event that caused you to get into debt and to live paycheck-to-paycheck, but a bunch of small decisions that add up over time.

We are given hardly any financial information in school, and most people don’t take it upon themselves to learn the things they NEED to know.

You need to know that everyone makes mistakes and everyone has a chance to fix their situation. If you take the time to think back over the decisions you’ve made, you can see where you went wrong and take the first steps toward fixing it!

You aren’t a failure because of a few bad decisions. You’re better than so many people because you’re taking the steps toward changing your situation which is the first step!

#4 – Build an Emergency Fund

If you’re currently living paycheck-to-paycheck, I’m going to assume you don’t have much of a buffer for one-time emergencies.

An emergency fund is so incredibly important to be able to move forward in your finances! If you’re able to save up a $1000 emergency fund within the next year, you’ll be much better off to start attacking your debt without being worried about what bad things could happen tomorrow.

#5 – Start a Cash-Only Budget

I know in a world that is becoming more and more digital, reverting back to cash can feel archaic. The thing is, if you’re only spending cash you’ll never overspend because it’s not possible to get cash that you don’t actually have!

You’ll just need to set aside certain amounts of money for specific categories and use an envelope budgeting system!

#6 – Start Meal Planning

For most of us, food is where you spend the majority of your money. The main reason that so many of us (especially me) over purchase at the grocery store is because we don’t go into the store with a plan.

Meal planning and creating a detailed grocery list is the best way to do this. You can either take some time every sunday and create this meal plan for yourself, or use services like $5 Meal Plan that will give you both the meal plan and the grocery list each week for only $5 a month. Pretty sweet deal, eh?

#7 – Start a Profitable Side Hustle

Making side income is important for everyone, especially if you’re a single income family. Having extra income is a great way to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck because it helps off set a lot of your bills and debt payments!

We love talking about ways to make extra money on the side at Not Quite an Adult and here are a few of our favourites:

Final Thoughts

really hope you understand that living paycheck-to-paycheck doesn’t have to be forever. There are ways for you to change your financial situation and if you implement these small changes, you’ll be so much closer to where you want to be. Just know that you can do this and there is nothing standing in your way.

Thanks for reading,

xo Taylor