Fiscal Friday

One of the best feelings in the world is getting paid. Payday for many people falls on Friday. When money is coming in, it makes a person feel that they can pay on their bills. But what happens when you are forced to live paycheck to paycheck? It’s a sobering statistic. In 2017, CareerBuilder stated that almost 80% of folks were living paycheck to paycheck. If you add another 10% that’s approximately the number of folks who are making a six figure income living paycheck to paycheck. In a world of financial opportunities, why can’t we get ahead?

One things many of us face is impulse buying. If we see something we want, we get it. Many times we put things on credit or spend money that should have gone for something else. If you are guilty of this, don’t feel like you are alone. You aren’t. The most difficult thing we all have to do is take a step back and determine if we really need what we are buying. I’m very guilty of this when it comes to my pet. If I see something that I think she’ll like or even help keep her groomed better, I’ve had a tendency to order it. It’s taken me a very long time to get my finances under control and I’m almost completely out of debt. I used to help out a lot of friends when they needed it only very few of them ever paid me back. I learned my lesson when I ran out of money and then had to figure out how to get back on my feet. It wasn’t easy. How did I do it? Part of it is mental. You have to make up your mind that you are going to create a stronger reserve for yourself. Had I known what to do when I first got into the financial mess of my own making, I would have had a better outcome on some things. I contacted a consolidation company and have worked with them to get out of debt. If you are able to negotiate directly with the companies that you owe money to, it might be a better option for you. The biggest thing is learn to live within your means. If you can set aside 10% of your check every payday then you are well on your way to stopping the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Even if you can’t swing 10%, try to save something from your check every payday. It really does add up. Here’s a few things that have really helped me the last few years to get back on my feet.

  1. Get on a budget. Don’t know where your entire paycheck goes? There’s a lot of little places that our money goes without us even realizing how much it drains us. For example, do you subscribe to Prime and Netflix? What about any other subscription service? Is it worth the money each month? Do you have unused subscriptions to any outlet that are being deducted each month? Chances are you do. It’s good to know what those expenses are and if you can cut back or not.
  2. Stop living with debt. If you keep doing the same things over and over you will get the same result. Don’t allow yourself to keep staying in the hole.
  3. Sell stuff. Take a look around you. Do you need those clothes you can’t fit into anymore or that you’ve never worn? Do you have equipment that needs to go? There’s always ways to earn extra money and get better organized in the process.
  4. Get a temporary job or start a side hustle.
  5. Live below your means. If you don’t go spending more than you make, you have the potential to save money.
  6. Look for things to cut. This is hard because we all tend to get attached to various items and things. Try to separate yourself from them.
  7. Save up for big purchases. If you know you are going to need to replace something, start saving for it. That way you won’t have to worry about credit when you need to pay.

It’s hard to do this. There are always going to be things to entice you. You may want to go out to eat and not think anything about spending the extra money to do this. Remember every time you go out to eat, that’s money that is being used for something that could impact your wallet. For example, there’s always celebrations that we all have in our lives. Sometimes, money might be extremely tight. We may not be able to to to a party or buy an expensive gift. Often, we have to make sacrifices to enjoy the littlest moments because they mean a lot. It’s okay. Learn to plan for those expenses.

There’s another thing I do that has really helped me out over the last few years. I’ve written about a few apps on my phone. I’m a huge supporter of Shopkick, Checkpoints, and InboxDollars. I’ve gotten money from each of them for just scanning items, walking in stores, submitting receipts, and doing surveys. I also have done Ibotta, Checkout51, Fetch, and Receipt Hog. I’ve looked for all kinds of ways to earn on top of the other things that I do. I work a side job. I truly love to work but I really love the challenge of scavenger hunts. That’s why apps like Shopkick and Checkpoints have been extremely helpful for me. With Shopkick, I’ve earned over $1000 in gift certificates. I’m well on my way to $1000 with Checkpoints. I’m not going to lie to you. It takes work and time. But if you can stay focused, you can achieve better financial in-dependency.

COVID 19 hasn’t helped. In fact, many people lost their jobs due to the virus but there are companies who are hiring. The hardest part is getting a job that’s steady. But if you are willing to take the time to do your research, plan, and use a budget that works for you, then you have the tools you need to start making changes for the better and that’s a beautiful sight to behold. Imagine how you are going to feel when things are paid in full and your bank account goes into the positive rather than the negative. It can happen. Don’t get discouraged and lose faith. Stay focused and driven and you can stop the cycle.

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