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Living Paycheck to Paycheck? How You Can Get Ahead

  • Jason Cabler Celebrating Financial Freedom
  • Updated Dec 11, 2017
Living Paycheck to Paycheck? How You Can Get Ahead

Studies have shown that more than two thirds of people are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time. That’s a pretty stunning statistic.

Keeping your head above water financially seems to be getting harder and harder every year, and there are a variety of reasons why that’s happening.

Some of it has to do with the way our attitudes have changed when it comes to money. Some of it is the economy we’re experiencing, and some of it is due to how the world is changing and leaving some people behind because they won’t change.

It’s been a phenomenon that’s been happening even since ancient times, as evidenced in the Bible in Haggai 1:6 where it says, “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

But just because there are a lot of reasons why it’s more difficult to make ends meet these days doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to be successful financially.

There is always hope.

You Don’t Have to Live Paycheck to Paycheck

Any big change in life always starts with the decision that change has to happen, no matter what. So what do you do if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and it seems there is just no way to get ahead? There are several steps you can take.

The first step is to get your mind right.

It’s easy to believe when you’re living from paycheck to paycheck that that’s just the way things are and that’s the way it always will be.

But that doesn’t have to be the case.

There is a way to get off the paycheck to paycheck treadmill and overcome the mindset that comes with living in that mode forever. You can read about how to overcome that mindset here.

You can still succeed financially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Here’s what to do:

Figure Out Why You’re Living From Paycheck to Paycheck

Once you make the effort to get your mind and your thought processes moving in the right direction, you have to decide that you’re done living hand to mouth and you’re going to change your financial situation no matter what it takes.

Now that you have made the decision that you’re never going back, then you have to figure out what it is that caused the situation in the first place.

Here are some of the common culprits:

  • You’ve come to the conclusion that debt is just a part of life. It doesn’t have to be that way. Decide to be different. Car payments and credit cards are NOT inevitable.
  • Luxuries have turned into needs. Cable TV, eating out several times a week, and so many other things that we once looked at as “extras” are now viewed as a necessary part of life. In reality these are not needs, they are wants.
  • You’re not making enough. You are underemployed or just not making enough effort to go out and kill it at work and need to kick it up a notch.
  • You’re overspending. You are simply spending more than you make. You need to gain better control of what you spend and how you spend it. Usually this is because you don’t have a plan.
  • You don’t have a plan. You don’t really keep track of your money and you just spend until the money runs out. Then you get your next paycheck and do it all over again. You just simply have no idea where all the money goes. This is how most people end up living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Money is just too easy to spend. Credit cards, and even debit cards, don’t feel like real money. When you swipe and sign it doesn’t hurt as much as using cash, so you end up overspending before you even realize what you’ve done.
  • You have a spending problem. You may have a lack of self control that needs to be addressed such as a shopping addiction.
  • The job market has changed. Businesses are changing the way they hire and compensate workers. You have to learn to change with the times and understand how to overcome those challenges that come with how the workplace is changing. There is a great book by Dan Miller titled 48 Days to the Work You Love- Preparing for the New Normal that can help you with that.

Take a Long, Hard Look

Be brutally honest with yourself.

You have to take a long, hard, honest look and figure out what is really causing your problem. It might be painful to confront those issues, but lying to yourself never allows you to get ahead in life.

Once you have figured out what the main reasons you’re living paycheck to paycheck, then you can start taking concrete steps to address those problems and totally overcome them.

Article originally published on Celebrating Financial Freedom. Used with permission.

Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and self study course. His book How to Budget: The Quick and Easy Guide to Making a Budget That Works is now available (more info here). He can be reached for interviews or speaking engagements by email, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.

Original publication date: June 3, 2013

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