If saving were easy, we all would be millionaires. But the reality is that for many households, the monthly paycheck is barely enough to cover the bills. If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, there are small steps you can take to stabilize your finances. Here are a few moves that might help:
1. CHANGE THE DUE DATES OF YOUR BILLS
Sometimes you have enough money coming in to pay all of your monthly expenses, but your paychecks don’t match up with the due dates for your bills, said Rachel Schneider, co-author of the “Financial Diaries.” Ask your creditors to see if they’ll change your due date to fall closer to your payday, Schneider said.
2. NEGOTIATE FOR A BETTER DEAL
Call your cable, internet or cellphone provider roughly once a year to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible, especially if you notice that your monthly bill increased.
3. TREAT YOURSELF
It may be easier to stick to your saving goals if you work in treats and splurges that are important to you, says Jonathan Morduch, co-author of the “Financial Diaries.” If you budget for splurges, the sacrifices you make everyday—such as having a sad desk salad for lunch—can feel a lot less painful.
4. SET A MODEST SAVINGS GOAL
If the traditional financial advice of saving enough to cover three to six months worth of expenses feels impossible, you should set a more modest goal. “One month of savings, just one month, can be really, really powerful,” Morduch said.
5. TRACK YOUR SPENDING
The word “budget” can make a lot of people cringe, said Carlos Moreno, a financial specialist at EMPath. But it becomes easier to manage your money once you know where your cash is going, he said. Many consumers think they know how much they’re spending on regular expenses such as groceries, but they are often surprised after they track their costs more closely, Rogan said.
—Jonnelle Marte | The Washington Post