5 Tips to Stop Living from Paycheck to Paycheck

Do you always end up spending all your money, even though the next payday is still a long way off? This is a definite sign that you need to take a step back and reassess how you spend your hard-earned money. Here are five tips that will help you break this vicious cycle.

by Nathan Arciaga

19 June 2017

While you’ve gotten by in the past, the stress that comes with not knowing if you’ll be able to pay your bills will, sooner or later, take a toll on your well-being. Now might be the time to stop living large and to start living within your means. Becoming buried in more bills and bad debt is an option you literally cannot afford. Making the decision to change the way you live now will pay off in the long run. Consider taking these necessary steps:

Make a Budget

We generally have a ballpark idea of how much we spend every month, but it would help if you actually write everything down. Budgeting gives you a big picture of your finances, as well as the nitty-gritty of where you do put your money. Keep track of your finances and you’ll realize that you are actually spending so much on Uber rides, or on that data subscription you don’t even use because you have Wi-Fi at home and at the office. Bottom line is financial awareness is key. Without it, you’d be hard-pressed to know how to change your current situation.

Look for More Sources of Income

If your current job doesn’t pay you enough to cover the basics, then you need to consider looking for a second source of income. You’d be surprised at how many online part-time jobs there are that you can easily take up to supplement your budget. You can be an online English tutor for PhP100/hour (four hours/day, five days/week amount to PhP8000/month), a freelance writer (at PhP1500 to PhP2000 per article), or a virtual assistant who takes in around US$900 or roughly PhP45,000 each month.

Cut Back on Expenses

If your Uber ride costs twice or even thrice as much as your regular commute, maybe it’s time to use public transportation a few days a week. Wake up early and save the Uber rides for important meetings and emergencies. Scaling down your mobile phone subscription will also do you some good. Most people don’t get to use all of their allocated calls, SMS, and bundled data anyway. In this age of Netflix and other streaming platforms (which tend to be cheaper), is a cable subscription still worth it? To stop running out of money all the time, cut back on the things you spend on. Focus on the necessities: food, shelter, education for kids, utilities, and savings. Everything else should be expendable.

4. The Zone Diet

Created by Barry Sears, the Zone Diet promotes an easy to follow 1-2-3 Method. For every one gram of fat you take in, you eat two grams of protein and three grams of carbohydrates. The Zone Diet aims to balance hormones, thus controlling hunger, while still making sure that your body gets the proper nutrients. Celebrity Dieters: Demi Moore, Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston

Get Out of Debt

Pay off your debts as soon as possible and minimize borrowing after. Refrain from purchasing gadgets and appliances on installment basis. Not only do they put a strain on your month-to-month finances, but you also end up paying more in interest. Interest on debts take a big chunk out of your budget—that money could have easily gone to other expenses or to savings. Plan major purchases and travel ahead so you can save up for them instead of charging them to your credit card or taking out a loan.

Make Savings a Priority

Setting aside money can be very hard when you barely have enough money for regular expenses, but it’s really about mindset. If you treat savings as a necessary expense that you have to “pay” no matter what, you’d have a significant amount of cash stashed in just a few months. A good rule of thumb when it comes to savings is 20 percent of your take home pay. This money could be used for emergency spending, or to earn more money in the form of investments. Most financial experts would consider your finances healthy if you have six months’ worth of your salary saved up at any given time, and only then can you finally say that you’ve stopped living from paycheck to paycheck.