According to a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, half of the American population lives paycheck to paycheck, with most of those troubles being from credit card debt being a top reason. Even if your debt is low, there is probably still plenty of money that is funneling out of your account on a monthly basis and you just need a few tips to reduce money mistakes.
Generate Extra Income
There are all sorts of way to make extra money, it is just a matter of how hard you want to work during your downtime from your normal full time job. First, you could work extra hours at a second job in retail or the service industry. If you are not into another job, you could look through the house for items to sell on eBay or having a garage sale. If working from home is an interest, you could start to write blogging articles such as this.
Learn to Cook – Start Eating at Home
If you were to add up all of the costs of eating out that you do in an entire month it could make you sick. The markup of food is so high, but the convenience is so great that we often overlook the cost. Start looking at meal planning by making regular trips to the grocery store to keep your fridge, freezer, and pantry full, and try and eat a majority of your meals at home.
Reduce Unnecessary Expenses
While eating out is typically a huge unnecessary expense, dig a little deeper and go over your entire statement from the previous month and circle what was a monthly bill, and what was part of spending money. See which expenses could have been avoided and look to reduce going forward. Is it really worth spending $50 for a couple to go to the movies for two tickets, popcorn, and drinks for a mediocre movie? Probably not.
Live Within Your Means
Reducing unnecessary expenses is huge when it comes to generating extra money at the end of the month, but that also ties in with living within your means. Is your house too big for the size of your family? If your car payment too high? These are large monthly payments that could easily be reduced if you downsized to a cheaper car lease or moved into a smaller house. Not only with the mortgage payment be less, but so will the electric and gas bills.
Build an Emergency Fund
What better way to get out of the burden of living paycheck to paycheck by giving yourself a little cushion in case of emergency. Instead of putting on a credit card and setting yourself back to try and pay it off, try saving up at least three to six months of expenses on the side, in case of an unexpected job loss, repair to your car, or a household appliance that needs to be replaced. It will give you a little breathing room at least.