1 Million Dollars

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Over Your Head: living paycheck to paycheck

A friend posted on facebook about trying to save but not being able to because every week there was new "surprise" bill.  She said she has cut every personal thing and still, she can't get above water.  Sadly, many of my friends agreed.  Honestly I was flabbergasted because some of her bills were not surprises, like car insurance.  But, when you are living on edge, I guess they can.  Personal finance bloggers often say, pay your car insurance bill every six month, but if you can't save that little bit every month, how does that save you money?  However, if you can pay your car insurance every month, you CAN pay it every six months.  It just takes a change in attitude and planning.  So, let's be about it. shall we?

Often people are told to make monthly budgets but that sets you up for "surprise" bills that only come every six month or annually.  I recommend everyone make an annual budget and go from there. 
My budget looks like this:
house insurance
car insurance
taxes of house
house repair
fun money
school cost
baby expenses

Every bill I could think of is on there, and then under it is a list of things to add to the budget when I get more money including replacement costs of things like computers, large household items like a fridge or stove, everything.  I may not be able to put money in everything but I can start.  That helps me know where to put extra money if I get it or if I get a raise, if that ever happens.  
Can you see something is missing though?  I have no emergency fund on that list.  And I have a very good reason for that, my extra money goes to my emergency fund (EF).  Most of that money is from the rental but also little things like if I use amazon gift cards, that I get from swagbucks, instead of cash, I put the cash in my EF.   Everyone does need an EF, though many young people don't have one.  And that means putting those surprise bills on a credit card.  But even if the EF starts with $5 a month, that is a start.  And for young people starting is the most important thing.  Once you start thing snow ball.  Many of my bills are annual or semi-annual so I have a slush fund every month and except for a few months out of the year the slush fund grows (and throws a little interest into my EF).  So, what are some things you can do TODAY to stop living paycheck to paycheck?
Join swagbucks
Join My Points
Find a cheaper insurance company, my choice is Geico but check EVERYWHERE
Join ebates if you shop online
For that matter, see if shopping online is cheaper
If you pay for electricity, unplug everything!  Don't leave your computer plugged in or put it on a power-strip.

And if you are buy your own groceries check out money saving mom and cut your groceries spending at least for the one month.
By the end of the year you will have enough to change your car insurance to every six month which will save you an additional dollar.  And all of that will add up to a small emergency fund that will keep growing.   Just don't stop, keep the snowball growing and in no time you will not be living paycheck to paycheck.
If you have an idea that will help people stop living paycheck to paycheck, let us know in comments! 

No comments:

Post a Comment