Chasing Financial Freedom: Breaking the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle
Constantly stuck with too much month at the end of your money? Counting down the days til payday, just to end up in the same position after a couple of days? It’s no fun, we all work hard and when you’re forever left feeling like you have nothing to show for your efforts it can be stressful. Here’s how you can free up extra cash, and make things much easier.
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Being in debt is expensive. Not only are you paying back the initial amount you borrowed, but every month that you carry a balance, you’re paying interest too. Over time and over multiple accounts this can add up in a big way, especially if you weren’t on the best rates to begin with. Do everything you can to get out of debt- work extra shifts at work, start a side hustle for extra cash, sell what you don’t need. The quicker it’s paid the less you’ll spend overall. If you find that you’ve not managed your accounts very well, once they’re paid, close your accounts. Get into the habit of saving to buy the things you want as you’re then living within your means and not essentially spending money before you’ve earned it (which is easy to do when you’re borrowing).
Stop overspending on food
Food is one place that just about all of us overspend. We buy lunches at work instead of our own, and treat ourselves to takeout when we can’t be bothered to cook. We frequent coffee shops, buy soda and bottles of water when we’re out and about, and throw away half of the fresh foods that we buy at the end of each week. Food waste is an issue, it’s bad for the environment and it’s extremely bad for your budget. Get organised, make tasty pasta and rice dishes in bulk and portion them out for the week for lunches along with some salad. Write a menu for all of the dinners you’re going to cook in the week, and build a grocery list based on what you need. That way you’re not being swayed by offers that you don’t need, and you don’t end up with a load of food waste at the end of each week. Get used to cooking more at home, keep things simple when you’re busy in the week, and experiment more at the weekends when you have more time. Pinterest and cookbooks are full of interesting ideas, have a browse through and note down anything you like the look of.
Get your bills in check
Bills are annoying but inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you need to be spending over the odds. Most utility companies are competitive, so switching will give you the best deals and help keep your bills as low as they can be. Staying loyal to companies rarely pays off, whether it’s your car insurance or your electricity provider. Get into the habit of running quotes each year and moving over to whoever is giving you the best deal. If you’re regularly missing bills or paying them late, you can end up with arrears and even damage your credit score. Come up with a system which enables you to pay them quickly and easily. For example, you could open up a separate bills account and set all of your bills to come out of here via direct debit. Put in the amount needed to cover them each time you get paid and they’ll take care of themselves- no need to manually pay everything.
Consider the luxuries you currently spend on
We all have our little luxuries and creature comforts that we enjoy. It’s being able to have these things that makes our hard work feel worth it. However, you could be overspending here and make changes that save you money without feeling deprived. For example, if you currently have lots of digital subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime, how often are you really using them? Would you really miss having them- you could always take a month’s break and see how you get on. Otherwise, could you create a family account that everyone in the household could use and would save money over paying for separate accounts? Whether you like to buy clothes, expensive haircuts, wine, food or something else entirely, take a look at what you’re spending. You might be able to cut back or find cheaper alternatives that would still give you what you wanted but for less. We can get so used to having and paying for certain things, but it’s only worth the money if you’re getting use or enjoyment out of them.
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