What does living paycheck to paycheck mean? It means that every month when you add up your paychecks and add up your expenses, they equal roughly the same amount. You don’t put any money into savings and you perhaps you don’t have any money in savings. So how do you make that change? How do you stretch your income? One idea is to shrink the amount of bills you have. If you spend $100 less on your bills, that’s just like making an extra $100 that month at work. Here are several tips that you might find helpful:
1. Make a list when going grocery shopping. If you don’t make a list, you end up wandering around the store trying to remember what you needed. Then you find things that you want but don’t need and end up buying those things. This makes your grocery bill much higher.
2. Don’t do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you’re hungry, everything will look good. You’ll end up buying things in a hurry because, for one, you’ll be in a hurry to get home to eat, and two, you’ll think everything sounds good when you’re hungry.
3. Look at price per ounch when shopping. You might see someone on sale, but it’s cost per ounce is much higher than the store-brand that is normal price. You don’t have to buy only what’s on sale, but rather, buy what is cheapest.
4. Do you subscribe to cable? Did you know that satellite dishes are generally cheaper now than cable? You could save $20 per month by switching over to satellite. Or even better, you could save $40 per month by switching to the most basic cable (just your locals).
5. Make sure your introductory rates haven’t expired. Maybe you have high-speed internet or cable that offered a lower monthly price for the first 12-months but now have upped the price by $15-$20. Call the company and tell them you want the introductory rate or you’ll cancel the service. They want your business…they’ll give you the lower price.
6. Get rid of your home phone. Save $25. Most people aren’t using all their cell phone minutes, and you will save much more by getting rid of your home phone than by dropping to a lower cell phone plan.
7. Cancel your newspaper. All the information you read in the newspaper is available online. Save $15 per month.
8. Rent a lot of movies? Struggle with late fees? Sign up for Netflix or Blockbuster online. For $10-$18 dollars (depending on how many movies you want at one time), you can save a lot of money over going to a store to rent. Not only that, but you’ll save gas money going to and from the store to rent and drop off the movies.
Those are eight very helpful hints that I have used to get by. My wife and I got pregnant by surprise and decided that it would be best to have her stay at home with our daughter. We didn’t have enough money to do this unless we cut some of the fat out of our budgets, and that we did. We did each of these things and are saving over $100 more each month than we did before the baby.
I hope this helps!