10 Clever Tips for Surviving Paycheck to Paycheck

Finances take a lot of work to manage. Many folks are not lucky enough to have an alternative source of income or savings besides their monthly paycheck. But fret not, my friend. While solving your money problems may be difficult, it’s not impossible. Here are some budgeting tips to help you survive in the face of inflation and unpredictability:

1. Put First Things First 

You must spend your money wisely. Detailed budgeting can be your best friend. List down your monthly expenses in order of priority. You should start with rent, utilities, insurance, etc., before gradually progressing to groceries and, eventually, other miscellaneous items. 

2. Starting Saving

Saving is essential to cater to times of emergency. Once you’re done paying your bills, try saving a small amount. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Whatever you can manage is good enough. Also, saving is an excellent excuse to get yourself a piggy bank as an adult. 

3. Say No to Takeout

Some expenses don’t strike people as a waste of money, but they are. Unfortunately, getting takeout every other day breaks the bank.

You can always cook something delicious at home; you don’t have to be a culinary artist to pull that off. Google some easy recipes and get cooking. Plan your meals ahead of time so you can finance them better. 

4. Try Budgeting Apps

There are helpful budgeting apps like Mint that you can link to your bank account. This will keep you updated every time you deviate from your intended budget. It’s the perfect solution for those struggling to keep themselves in check. However, make sure you’ve done your research before installing an app.

5. Avoid Credit(less) Cards

Credit cards tend to do the exact opposite of what their name suggests. You must maintain your monthly credit score to prevent any late fees. However, when you’re already surviving on a paycheck, such charges can be another nuisance.

Since credit cards require a high degree of spending power, try to stay away from them. You can talk to creditors instead. They’ll help you determine how to set up payment plans according to your budget.

6. Cancel Subscriptions/Services

Some folks forget to cancel subscriptions they no longer use. While some charges seem reasonable, little things add up and can strain your bank account.

Similarly, some services are never really used by many people. If you’re still paying for cable while having a Netflix account, it’s time to change that. Who even watches cable TV anymore? 

7. Side Hustle 

You can earn a little extra cash by monetizing your skills and hobbies. Setting up a small business can be a good idea. For example, if you like arts and crafts, you can get commissions for your pieces. Alternatively, you can sell the infamous brownies that earn you compliments at every tea party. 

8. Conscious Consumption

Impulse purchases can add up, so practicing mindfulness before buying something is best. You can make a personal checklist or ask yourself questions before buying something. Ask yourself if it’s a need or a want or if it’s urgent or not.

Always weigh your choices and take your time. That bedroom lamp isn’t going anywhere from your cart, but your money sure is.

9. Self-Discipline

No tips can save you if your mindset regarding money doesn’t change. Your self-discipline must stay constant to escape the exhausting paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

Set up systems of accountability for yourself so that you stay on track. For example, have a trusted family member or friend check up on your progress. Keep things in writing. Whatever works.

10. Treat Yourself

This may sound counterproductive to what we’ve discussed, but hear me out. Budgeting is not a punishment. It is not supposed to take the joy out of your life (which is very little, to begin with).

Make some space for your personal wishes. For example, buying that cute shirt you were eyeing at the mall the other day will make you feel better about budgeting.

This thread inspired this post.