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Paycheck to Paycheck: How your habits are holding you back.

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The burden of debt and the demands of surviving in today’s world can be completely overwhelming. Are you sick of waking up with a dark feeling in the pit of your stomach?

Are you tired of having to back out of plans because you don’t have the cash to cover anything aside from the basics? With a little knowledge and willpower, you can stop living paycheck to paycheck in a short amount of time.

Tracking Expenses

It’s astonishing how many people overlook this. You cannot formulate a budget that will get you out of any holes until you are well aware of what your current habits are. This means you will need to make notes on every single penny you spend.

The benefits of this extend beyond helping you see what’s in your best interest. If you have to make a record of what you pay out, you may be less likely to go through with certain, unnecessary purchases. Ultimately, tracking your spending very strictly makes you hold yourself accountable.

Once you’ve done this for a few weeks, decide what your goals are. What do you want to spend less on? Where do you want to be in six months, and how are your current spending habits keeping you from that?

Budgeting

Bearing in mind that your spending habits are not being kind to your budget, it’s time to make a plan. Use your monthly income figure to decide what is going where. Housing, utilities, food, and insurance come first.

Next, budget out what you’ll pay in transportation expenses, credit card bills, student loans, cash loans, and other things that require payback. Decide whether or not it’s acceptable to pay the minimums.

What you have left is your disposable income. Hopefully, you have enough here to put something into savings. Keep in mind that if you can only afford to put twenty bucks into savings, you’re still on the right track.

New Habits

With a clear understanding of your spending history and a shiny new budget, it’s time to act smart. Do not rely on credit cards to pay for extras, as that will only increase your debt and the amount you need to pay back monthly. Think twice about taking out new loans, unless you experience an emergency your savings cannot cover.

Most of all, never count your chickens before they hatch. Do not spend today because you believe you can expect a bonus, inheritance, or other payout tomorrow. Consider your current balance, and your current balance only, to be what you have.

Here is where those goals you set earlier can help reinforce your willpower. Collect photos of the destination where your dream vacation is and fix them to your desk or fridge. Regularly visualize what it would feel and look like to be completely debt free. Imagine taking a shopping trip that you can actually afford without going broke.

After all, the best part of being financially responsible is that you won’t have to worry as much, and that’s true freedom.