Many Americans are ending up broke month after month, even when their income is well above the poverty line. A recent survey by Suntrust Banks found that a third of higher-income households, (those that bring more than $75,000 or more a year) are living paycheck to paycheck.
It’s easy to get caught up in debt, once you are living paycheck to paycheck. You are more likely to use credit cards to pay for monthly expenses, therefore racking up more debt. Each month you will pay just the minimum amount owed, and continuing to rack up more and more interest.
If your income is steady, but your financial habits are what is causing you to live paycheck to paycheck, here are some helpful tips to overcome the paycheck to paycheck struggle.
1. Create a Monthly Budget
Many of us are poor at money management because we haven’t been taught the proper ways to manage money. Creating a monthly budget and sticking to it is much as possible. Budgets are a great way to get you back on track. Some budgets can be as simple as keeping track of your paydays and the due dates of all your monthly expenses, then determine items you might be able to cut back on to start saving money.
2. Stop Spending Impulsively
How many times have you grabbed something that has been placed at the end of an aisle at the grocery store, or Target? At some point or another, I am sure we are all guilty of this. Often we don’t ever use the product, or we may get home and instantly regret purchasing it.
3. Stop letting your feelings sway your shopping
Instant gratification can be a huge culprit in buying items we do not need. Emotions play a significant role in buying unnecessary items, your child may be upset about something, and you go and buy him/her a new toy, or maybe you just rearranged your living room, and you decided that to make it complete you need a new chair. You go and buy, and regret spending the money later. When you are feeling this way, maybe writing it down on a wish list will help curb the impulsive spending.
4. You’re Still Paying for Unused Memberships
With debit cards and credit cards being readily assessable to pay for things in this day and age, it allows for us to sign-up for gym memberships, video programs, and more. I know I have a gym membership that I have paid for the last 12 months and never used it.
5. Pay Attention to Your Bank Statement and Credit Card Statements
If you find yourself broke month after month, it may be a little easier to stomach if you avoid looking at your bank statements and credit card statements. Avoiding these important financial documents could be detrimental to your financial health. How can you possibly create a budget or tackle your financial situation if you are avoiding the key to your situation? You can’t! It is also important to review your statements to make sure all information reporting is correct, in this day and age there is a significant amount of fraud going on.
After you find ways to cut unnecessary spending and begin saving it will be important to start paying more than the minimum on your current credit card obligations. This will significantly help pay down the amounts owed and the interest you pay.