Have you heard the old saying, “I have more month than money?” Can you relate to that statement?
Half of the families living in the United States can, as they find themselves trying to stretch their income from paycheck to paycheck. Meanwhile, 66 percent of minimum-wage employees can’t pay all of their bills and put food on the table with their current income each month. In many instances, families run short days before their next pay day. 1 in 3 Americans don’t even have $500 to set aside in case of an emergency. Between mortgages, student loans, medical bills and credit card debt, more employees than ever before are struggling to make ends meet.
And an emergency could easily set back the more than 66 million Americans who do not have an emergency fund, a separate savings account for repairs, medical emergencies or other crises that can crop up. According to Dave Ramsey, an expert on living a debt-free lifestyle, the beginning goal for an emergency fund is $1,000, with the ultimate goal of three to six months of income in savings to cover your living expenses. This is a goal that, for many, can seem insurmountable.
Finding ways to increase your household income while also paying off debt and monitoring your spending, especially on groceries and entertainment, could give you some breathing room.
Money Saving Tips
As the head of a family, you know you need to reduce costs and wasteful spending in order to have more money than month. Creating a budget will help you keep your finances straight and identify financial leaks. But how?
- Start tracking your budget so you can figure out which of your expenditures are unnecessary. This will also help you become more mindful of your spending habits. There are many tools out there to help get you started, so do your research and find a budget tracking method that works best for you.
- Automate your payments and savings if you’re a habitual over-spender. For example, if you set up your bank to pull a set amount of your paycheck monthly to commit to savings and other fixed payments, you won’t ever have to worry about missing payments.
- You may not realize that your household is leaking income due to high energy costs, but many of these items are preventable. For example, before you go to bed at night, turn off the televisions and lights in your home. One television kept on each night throughout the year could be costing you an extra $55.
Money Boosting Tips
Even after you make budget adjustments, you might not have enough money to set aside for savings. If that’s the case, it might be time to get creative and look for ways to supplement your already-existing income. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
- Sell items and clothes you don’t use regularly. If you actually took the time to go through all your old clothes, trinkets and other junk, you’d be surprised to find how much of your things you don’t actually need. Decluttering is a great way to sell your stuff for some extra cash. It’s also good because it promotes the mindset to minimize further unnecessary purchases.
- Make a career move to increase your pay. This means you can either negotiate a raise if you’re in a good position to do so, or look into switching jobs.
- Start a side hustle you can have fun with. Many Americans across the country feel the need to find a little work on the side, and gig platforms such as Uber and TaskRabbit have made finding extra work a lot easier. Whether you want to dog sit or become a freelance writer, check out the various tech-based platforms that can assist you with securing extra gigs.
If you continue to experiment with additional ways to save money and stretch your hard-earned dollars, you may be able to eventually break the vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.