If you’re like many modern consumers, you’re happy with the current state of the economy. Jobless rates have reached historic lows, and good opportunities seem much more prevalent than they did several years ago. Nonetheless, expenses have risen substantially in recent years, and even if your paycheck covers your average monthly bills, you may be struggling to save money. Fortunately, strategies exist designed to help you put some of your earnings into savings. The following are just seven of the many ways to save money if you live paycheck to paycheck:
1. Cook at Home
Most people don’t realize how much they can save simply by preparing the majority of their meals at home. Eating out is a quick and convenient option that’s very tempting for busy people. But even those who choose low-cost fast food or takeout options find that the costs add up significantly over the course of the average month. Save meals out for occasional splurges, and focus on creating healthy meals in your home kitchen.
2. Make Your Own Coffee
Stopping at the coffee shop on the way to or from work also results in expenses adding up. A latte or mocha may seem like an inexpensive treat, but if that’s your go-to way to start your day, you may be spending as much as $100 per month at the coffee shop. Try scaling your visits back to once every week or two and pocketing the savings.
3. Find a Side Hustle
Pick up a bartending or waiter shift at a local establishment once or twice a week and put the money in your savings account. Other side hustles include driving a car for Uber or Lyft, signing on with grocery and product delivery services, and offering freelance services such as writing or web design. If you’ve got teaching credentials, you may be able to pick up some extra work doing online tutoring.
4. Go Green
Walk, ride your bike, take the bus or carpool instead of driving your car to work. You’ll save money on costs associated with transportation such as fuel, parking, and wear and tear on your vehicle. If you walk or ride your bike on a regular basis, you’ll also experience health benefits that may save you money. For instance, those who keep fit are less likely to become ill, so you’ll potentially save money on health care. If you currently have a gym membership, you may be able to get your exercise needs met for free by walking or biking to work and other places you need to go.
Going green also means being conscious of your energy usage and taking steps to keep your carbon footprint as light as possible, which results in lower utility costs.
5. Purchase Used Items
You can save serious sums of money by purchasing used items. This is particularly true of furniture, sports equipment, household goods, and certain items of clothing. Good sources of quality pre-owned items include online listings, yard sales, and local thrift stores.
6. Create a Realistic Budget
One of the major pitfalls made by those living paycheck to paycheck is that they tend to create overly spartan budgets when they attempt to get their finances under control. It’s almost impossible to stick with a bare-bones budget, and people often become discouraged as a result of failing to adhere to an overly strict budget. Crafting a realistic budget that allows for reasonable entertainment and luxury expenses is more likely to produce desired results. It’s really hard to feel enthused about saving money if you’re constantly feeling deprived.
7. Consider a Debt Consolidation Service
Another great way to save money if you live paycheck to paycheck is to get a debt consolidation loan. These loans generally result in an overall lower interest rate, which makes it possible to save more of your paycheck. It also provides an easier way to pay monthly obligations for those with multiple debts as well as makes it less likely to overlook necessary payments.
Getting a handle on your debt situation also results in an improved credit score, and this usually means lowered interested payments on mortgages, automobiles, and other big-ticket purchases. Poor credit scores also result in higher utility and rental home deposits, and they may even cause you to be turned down for desirable employment opportunities.
Please don’t hesitate to give Christian Debt Counselors a call at your earliest convenience if you would like more information on how to get your finances under control.