Sound familiar? It seems that many families are living paycheck to paycheck. It is hard to tell whether this is because of the current economic conditions or because the vast majority of families are living well above their means. Either way, it is a frustrating circle that can have you overwhelmed with stress and worries and can impact every aspect of your life! While there may not be any good news, there are a few things that you can realize and learn to make your life easier.
The first is gratitude. It may be hard to feel grateful for what you have when you feel like you have so little. It is even more difficult to be grateful when you feel like it takes every thing you have to hold on to things like your house or car. However, you have them nonetheless. Your decisions that led to your mortgage, your car, or your credit card debt may have been made in happier times. Yet, remaining grateful and expectant of good things and for the fact that you are getting by (even if just scraping) can at least lift your mood. Along with gratitude, you must carry an air of honesty and realism about your life. Chances are that others are in the same situation as you, but so many people spend their time pretending to be something they aren’t, which only causes more pressure in your life. If you are working to keep up appearances, it is time to let that immature way of living go – so that you can be grateful in the moments you have.
The second thing you must do is learn to scale back. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, there is NO DOUBT that there are some areas where you can learn to scale back your spending. Think about everything you do – everywhere you go – everything you buy. Do you really NEED certain things? Do you really NEED to go out of the house every day spending gas money and incidental expenses that add up? Do you really NEED to shop at your favorite grocery store because you like it better? What we think we need and what we really need are two different things. Consider if you are raising a family, that you are teaching your own children to learn unrealistic expectations for living. This is no sense means that you should skimp, but you should scale back. If you make it a game or a contest to see how much money you can save each and every week, you will be surprised just how much money you can save.
Many people believe that the solution to living paycheck to paycheck is to simply earn more money. This is absolutely the furthest thing from the truth. Even if you earned more money, you would only spend more unless you can work on your attitude about money first. If your husband or wife got a new or different job with double the earnings, chances are if you made no changes – you would still be living paycheck to paycheck in a year’s time. Instead of seeing money as the solution, learn how to create a family friendly budget. Curb your extra curricular spending. Cut back on your bills. Talk to your creditors about lowering your interest rates or debt. And when you see some extra money in your bank account from being frugal, slide it into savings. Even if it just $20 here and there – it will add up. Plus, you will be building a small but useful nest egg to help you when things get rough again.
Sit down with your family and have every member give up one or two things that cost money. For mom, it may be getting her nails done. For dad, it may his Sunday golf game. Perhaps the kids are willing to take less allowance or reduce the amount of movie rentals they watch. Plan your meals and do away with all of the pre-packaged (which means expensive) brand named products. Bring lunches, make sandwiches, and definitely work hard to find sales and cut coupons. If you have something extravagant, you want to do like take a vacation – then make a plan for it and enlist every member of the family. Unless you, your spouse, and the kids are on the same financial page – the plan will never work. Be careful not to pass on your fear of money or the lack there of onto your children – but teach them how to live well on a budget.
You cannot just wish yourself into a new situation. You can’t pray to win the lottery, or use the outline of laws of attraction to simply attract an inheritance. But what you can do is start taking on a mindset of being fulfilled. You can begin to see yourself in a state of having rather than having not. You can take proactive steps to help yourself, starting with your thoughts first. You also can learn new skills and take the pain that living from paycheck to paycheck causes as a foundation for learning and finding better ways to live. Remaining in a state of woe is me, will only keep you barely scratching the surface. However, positive visualization and steps toward making your life different (however small) will greatly influence the change in your life that you desire. In other words, if you are reading this article – then you are already considered with your financial state and you should feel empowered to take the bull by the horns and implement change. Remember that it takes time and small steps to build a financial system that will support you and you must remain full of energy and optimism.
Living paycheck to paycheck is nobodies dream. While you aren’t alone in the worry, anxiety, stress, and sleepless nights that this causes – you are alone in your ability to change it. The economy may improve. You may make more money. You may find your financial picture picking up. However, the true test of financial integrity is your attitude and ability to keep your head up in times like these. Take responsibility for yourself and build a life of financial karma that is positive. Remain grateful and honest and you will be better because of these trying times!