Are you living Paycheck to Paycheck? Do you feel like you never have enough money at the end of the month? (I actually really dislike this saying, but there is no better way to put it. It says it all!) Do you never have quite enough money to cover all the bills even when you try to live frugally, or at least make an effort not to spend on unnecessary things? I don’t know about you, but… my bills are at various times throughout the month and sometimes not just monthly, but quarterly. My gas and electric, for example, could be monthly debit order but I feel that I have a better handle on them if they are quarterly, pay on demand. A lot of people may not agree with this and may think they can save money by paying the monthly amount set by the utility supplier but…
I am not a fan of debit orders – it feels way too easy to deduct bills from my account, and, if a bill is wrong, I don’t want to fight to get my money back, however small the amount may be. If I receive bills and have to pay on receipt of the bill, I can check it to confirm the amount they are charging is correct and if it’s not, I can query it and have the amended bill sent out to me – and only then pay. If I deal with incorrect bills this way, it takes me one email or phone call and it’s corrected, then I make the payment (either mailing a cheque or logging onto the company’s payment gateway and making the payment) – either way takes around a minute!
Whereas, if a bill is deducted from my account, I have to wait for the bill to arrive in the mail, (or receive a notification by email that my bill is ready and then I have to follow the link, remember my log-in name and password and then go get my card, key in the numbers…… looong process – and I usually get at least one of the numbers wrong and then receive an error page and have to start the whole process again arrrggghhh, lol). Easier to just receive the bill and pop a check in the mail.
So… enough about the process of paying bills! 🙂
Without further ado, here are some tips to help you if you’re living Paycheck to Paycheck. Hopefully some of them will help and you’ll find them simple enough to implement. I’ve tried to include only what makes sense, is relatively easy to implement, and also tips that I would follow myself – AND hopefully they will help to make a difference to your overall financial wellbeing…
1. Actually Stick to a Budget
It’s not easy to stick to a budget, especially when you are not used to it. But the key to sticking to a budget is making one that is specifically for you. One of the most important things is to make sure that is realistic. There is no point setting one for how you hope to budget and what you hope to spend each month when it is something you will never be able to achieve – it only leads to feelings of failure when you can’t stick to it (probably no-one could!) For help in setting the most realistic budget for your situation, click here.
2. Even Saving Just a Few Pennies does Make a Difference
If you spend your money on just one thing, make it a tin can type money bank / piggy bank – the type that you need a can opener to get into! You will not want to hack into it before it’s full (at least that is the theory anyway!) Buy a pretty one so you have even less temptation to break into it early. Every spare coin that you have in your purse, lying in the bottom of your handbag or lying under the sofa cushion, take it and put it into the tin. You will be surprised at how quickly it adds up. I even put some smaller notes in when I can (it’s a surprise later when you open the tin!) When the tin is completely full and you can’t fit any more coins (or small notes) in, open it, count it and take it to the bank to deposit into a fixed term (like a “32 day notice”) account that you already opened (see point no. 5 below) – or open a new one when depositing the contents of the tin.
3. Shift Your Mindset
I know! So cliche! But note, I say “shift your mindset”, not “change your mindset”… This is because shifting requires only a small amendment to the way you think and relate to money, rather than a full mental switch. Shifting your mindset involves sitting quietly and thinking about how you actually feel about money and the income you bring in each month. Tune into how you feel. What are you thinking? What is going through your mind? Are you thinking about how much less income you are bringing in than what you actually need? Do you find yourself always saying, “I can’t afford that,” or “that’s far too much for my budget.” Catch yourself thinking in this way because this is a lack mentality. If you are constantly telling yourself (without even realising it) that you do not have enough money, you will never have enough money. It’s just the way it works. You might be thinking, come on Angela, that won’t solve my lack of money. I need cold, hard cash! I know what you mean. But remember, it’s just one of the puzzle pieces that make up an important part of you and your money situation.
Following on from point number 3 above, affirmations are another important step in your money puzzle. You need to choose affirmations to say that are, first of all, positive, and second, that you feel you could believe. I say this because you may not believe some affirmations that you will be telling yourself but as long as you choose ones that are not tooooo far away from what you truly believe and you think somewhere in you that you could believe it deep down, that’s ok. Keep saying them until you do believe them – or until they become the truth. For example, a good affirmation would be, “I have an abundance of money and money flows to me from a variety of sources.” A poor affirmation would be, “I don’t have any debt.” This is because this last affirmation is in the negative – “I don’t”. Whatever affirmations you choose to say must always be in the positive, just like the first example. This is because in the negative, you are focusing on the negative and the universe removes the negative “not” and your affirmation becomes, “I do have debt.” This is according to the wonderful Louise Hay.
Say your affirmations over and over again. If you prefer, write them out over and over again (by hand, not typing). Say them in your head while you are going to sleep, or first thing when you wake up. If you can (if you live alone or if your family will not think you have gone crazy), say them out loud when you are making your morning coffee. Over and over again until they become habit. You can have a few core affirmations for your current goals, or you can just have one or two that you say over again. It doesn’t matter, as long as they are positive! (If you are not sure about your chosen affirmations, feel free to drop me a line to ask – I’ll be happy to provide feedback to make them work for you!)
I’ve created a 14 day affirmation reminder email series in which I send you a daily financial affirmation each day for 2 weeks. The daily email serves as a reminder to be aware of what you think on a daily basis (without even realising it) AND provides a new affirmation each day for you to repeat, building upon the previous affirmations. You’ll build up a bank of money-related affirmations and because you’re reminded every day to repeat them for 2 weeks, it will help to build this amazing habit. SIGN UP FOR THE FREE EMAIL SERIES HERE.
5. Put a Small Amount of Money Away Each Month
You would be surprised how much it adds up – time passes anyway and, all of a sudden, you have a pile of money! I was going to start this point off by saying, “If you can, put a small ….. ” But, nope… I’m starting by saying, put a small amount of your salary into another, different account from your regular bank account each month. Set up an account that you can’t actually access easily if you don’t already have one. There are a variety of accounts at different banks, just do a little research and you will find one that only requires a small deposit and that is perhaps a notice account or other fixed term deposit account that allows a regular deposit each month. My chosen account for this purpose is a “32 day account” and my day to day bank account is set to to transfer a small set amount after payday to this notice account. It’s only a percentage of my salary but it adds up. And because it’s a 32 day notice account, I can’t easily access the money and this suits me perfectly! I need to give the bank 32 days’ notice of my intention to withdraw the money. It takes away any temptation to spend even juuust a little of the savings!
Hopefully these tips will help you immensely each month. I know I have used them myself (and some I still do), and they have worked for me. If you would like to let your fellow FFFers know some of your tips, feel free to comment below 🙂