Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck? Learn the Tricks that Financiers Know

Guest post by : Margo Smith

Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck? Learn the Tricks that Financiers Know Let’s start out with the most basic rule of finances: do not spend as much as you make. I know, you’re thinking “as if I can even live on what I make….” It is possible, however to live on less than you make, it just requires some tweaking and adjusting. So clear the slate of all you think you need. Start fresh and determine what bills and expenses represent items you absolutely can’t live without. Now go through your list again and weed some more out. If Starbucks is on your list but you are heavily in debt, could you take coffee from home and save yourself $100 dollars or more every month? Think how much faster you can pay down your bills with a hundred extra bucks.

So now you have your basic expenses. If you are like most people, these are the things you budget for:

1. Housing Costs
2. Utilities
3. Insurance
4. Groceries/Dining Out
5. Transportation
6. Medical Payments/Co-pays
7. Fees for Education
8. Loan Payments
9. Credit Card Bills
10. Clothes
11. Personal Care Objects/Necessities
12. Entertainment

One category that, unfortunately, is not on most folks’ lists is a savings account. In these turbulent financial times it is risky to go without any backup plan. If you are not in the habit, you can ease yourself into it gradually. Start with just $5 per month, and then gradually move up to $10 per month. At the rate of $5/month you save $60 each year, obviously tucking $10 away in savings or risk-free cd’s will net you $120 at the end of the year. Now that may not seem like much, but it might be the amount that pulls you out of the hole at some point. Just go without that drink at the gas station or brown bag it rather than stopping at In-n-Out and you’ll be able to do this. Soon you’ll be up to saving $240 and then $500 each year. Those impulse buys, which tend to be unnecessary or, if food, unhealthy, will hardly be missed and you’ll sleep better at night knowing you haven’t spent every cent before it is earned.

You can locate example of budget spreadsheets online – all for no cost. Tailor the headings to reflect your household expenses and put it to work for you. When you budget your money and stick to your plan, your money can work for you just as hard as you work for your money.

It is a true maxim that nothing in life is free. Everything has a price tag of money, time, sweat or effort. When you decide to stick to your budget it will yield peace of mind as well as no necessity for collection agencies to hound you. As you begin to live on less than you make, you may miss your night at the movies, but you’ll notice you can sleep better at night because your credit is not taking over your life. Don’t model your spending after those who spend willy-nilly even when the cash stash is not there. Cut back slowly but consistently and learn to live within your means. Budgets – under (not over) spending – self-control: these are the tips the experts know that start them on their way to fiscal fitness and financial joy.

Margo Smith graduated with a B.S. degree from BYU. She loves to blog about all kinds of subjects from technological advances to online classes to great books for kids. She draws from her own education, her years in college and an author’s perspective on life when researching her posts.


  1. I enjoyed your post. It’s a lot like college – we should absorb everything we can but ultimately you need to take what you’ve learned and apply it.
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