Too many of us are living paycheck to paycheck. According to a survey conducted by The Canadian Payroll Association, more than half of Canadians are living paycheck to paycheck. Furthermore, more than half reported that if their paycheck was even a week late, that they’d be in trouble(Source: 680 News). This clearly indicates that very few Canadians are saving or have some savings stashed away for a rainy day. Our friends south of the border are not much better off as 25% of the American population lives paycheck to paycheck according to a survey conducted by couponcodes4u.com.
I used to be one of those Canadians up until a few years ago who lived paycheck to paycheck, and had very little savings in the account. Back then I didn’t think much of it, as I was cruising along in life, living at home, and had limited responsibilities. Sure, I had a full-time job, but I thought that everyone who worked, earned a paycheck, paid the bills and spend the rest.
There are certain circumstances in life leave us paralyzed. Sometimes we feel desperate, which leads us to search for a quick fix, such as entertaining the idea of a payday loan and using it as an easy way to give us additional cash-flow. As I have learned, there are no quick fixes, no easy ways out, when it comes to money and saving it!
Getting out of the rat-race of living paycheck to paycheck simply takes a lot of discipline.
It took me nearly three years to get a grip on my finances. There were many tough moments of anger, disappointment, and the thoughts of wanting to give up. I look back now, and sometimes wonder what kept me going. Was it the sheer desperation? Desperate to have money sitting in the account every time I log into the online banking. Possibly it was desperation, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand. As I look back now one thing is certain – My discipline severely got tested, and I’m thankful I had it in me to pass that test.
I wouldn’t trade all those tough days for the world. These days are what mature us as individuals, brings the family together, and inspires us to learn different forms of sustainability that we never would have ever dreamed or pursued!
Here are 20 tips that have helped me gain a grip on my money and turned me from an out of control spender to a frugal saver that still has a life.
- Understanding the needs vs. wants.
- Create a budget, and ensure all the money in and out flows through it.
- Accept your faults, and understand that you chose to be in this situation.
- Make a commitment to your self to get your self out of the situation, because nobody else will.
- Set a goal when you want to become debt free – Time, date, and your celebratory move.
- Understand the importance of paying your self first, and start saving. Even small $5 or $10 amounts are better than nothing.
- Maximize your time by figuring out routes to bring in additional income. Maybe you’ll take on a part-time job or start a part-time business. Sky is the limit.
- Start a blog.
- Drink water instead of juice and pop. Not only will you save financially, but you’ll avoid the carbs as well.
- Purge your home. Sell your unused and unwanted items for cash.
- Read everything and anything non-fiction.
- Take advantage of freebies such as the DVD section at your local library, books, and iTunesU free educational courses, audio books, lectures and instructional videos.
- Trim your expenses slowly (cutting expenses drastically will only scare you away)
- Eliminate social dead weight from your life.
- Develop smarter shopping tactics, and compare, compare, compare!
- Get used to asking questions, and don’t be afraid to haggle, after all it’s your money!
- Shop all your providers, and negotiate the best price. If they’re unwilling to listen, walk away, there are others desperately waiting to welcome you as their customer.
- Stop using credit.
- Shop yard sales and thrift stores.
- Never forget that you’re doing this for YOU, the cutbacks are temporary, and this is something that will set you for the rest of your life.
Getting a good understanding of the starting point, and only creating true attainable goals is a must. There’s no point in setting goals that are unattainable, but rather small goals at a time are much more effective. Once those goals are accomplished, try adding a few more. Little by little, and only when you feel ready, increase the goals. Understand that your goals are personal, so who cares if they are big ($500/month savings) or small ($50/month savings) just so long as they are attainable. Taking the slow and steady rout can give you enormous encouragement when you actually attain your goals.
Have you lived paycheck-to-paycheck? Where are you now? How did you make it through?