Living paycheque to paycheque means you are left with little or no money at the end of the month. This is a sign of being unable to meet financial emergencies.
Unexpected expenses do not knock at your door before showing up; therefore, you should have some money stashed away to meet them. Unfortunately, this scenario does not exist if you are living from paycheque to paycheque.
Most people turn to online lenders to tide over during financial emergencies hoping that they could manage to pay off the debt outright when they receive their next paycheque. Still, contrary to your expectations, you end up rolling over the loan that traps you in a vicious circle of debt.
It is quite apparent when you have no spare money to meet financial emergencies. You will not be able to pay back the debt because you are to pay more than what you owe.
If you want to stop living paycheque to paycheque, you will have to follow the following 4-week challenge. This is a gentle way to develop some habits over a period of 4 weeks to bring your goals to fruition.
Week 1 challenge: start using budgeting apps
Before you could do anything to improve your finances, you will have to create a budget. Budgeting is the first thing you need to know how much money goes out every month.
Many of you find it hard to create a manual budget, but now you can also use budgeting apps. These apps can help you make a monthly spending plan.
Budgeting aims to help you spend within your means, but this could be possible only if you cut back on your expenses, which is a second-week challenge.
In the first week, try to create a budget. It can take a few days to understand how budgeting apps work and what you all need to meet your purpose.
Week 2 challenge: minimise your expenses
There is no point in creating a budget if you do not whittle down your expenses. Just noting down your everyday expense is not budgeting.
If you want to save money, you will have to challenge your expenses. You must know where your money is going and how you can control your spending.
- Cut back on unnecessary expenses
As you have a record of all of your expenses, you should check inessential expenses. It includes those expenses that you can live without for some time.
For instance, if your laptop is not up and running and you need it only at weekends for entertainment, you can put off the repair work.
You can entertain yourself in other ways. For instance, you can watch a Netflix series on your mobile phone. There are various unessential expenses you can completely cut:
- Cable TV
- Gym membership
- Eating out
- Night out
However, there are some expenses that you cannot completely cut down, but you can reduce them. For instance, you can switch to an energy supplier that fits your budget. You can switch to another call and internet plan that is cheaper than the current one.
- Prioritise essential expenses
You cannot remove essential expenses from the list, but you can cut back on them too. Here is what you can do:
- Start cooking at home. Dine out should not be more than a week provided your budget allows for it.
- Buy groceries from a thrift store.
- Buy clothes when you need and avoid visiting expensive shopping malls.
- Keep lights and fans off when you are not home.
Week 3 challenge: manage your debt
Debt eats up a large chunk of your income and keeps you from achieving your saving goal. Here is how you can manage your debt:
- Pay off high-interest debts first
If you are juggling with multiple debts, try to pay off high-interest loans first. For instance, payday loans are more expensive than small cash loans, try to pay them off first.
- Negotiate with your lender
Try to talk to your lender and ask them if they can put you on another repayment plan. Tell them of your true financial condition.
You will likely get a different and more affordable repayment plan or the lender may allow you to make minimum payments until your financial situation improves.
- Borrow smartly
If you have to borrow money, you should know how each type of loan works and apply for those that fulfil your needs and suits your budget.
Instalment loans like personal loans in Ireland for bad credit are more affordable than lump-sum loans because you pay down the debt over months.
If you want to stop living paycheque to paycheque, you will have to follow the 3-week challenge. However, apart from it, you will have to reduce spending in other ways, for example, try a no spending week, get a side gig, sell unwanted items, automate savings, and build an emergency cushion.