There are many tips available for living on one paycheck and, while it is easy for some people to live on one paycheck, if yours was once a two paycheck household, it may be harder for you to adjust to living on one paycheck.
Here are a few tips for living on one paycheck:
One of the best tips for living on one paycheck is to go over your bills, create a budget and decide where your money needs to go. This will include the basics of life: food, clothing and shelter. Doing a proper budget requires looking at your monthly income and your bills and other necessities and allocating your money accordingly. Knowing where your money is needed and where it is going will help you keep stress at bay while living on one paycheck.
A good tip for beginning a budget using only one paycheck is to total your regular living expenses, including your rent or house payment and divide by twelve. This is how much money, minimum, you will need every month in order to pay your living expenses and still have some money for fun. If your expenses are greater than your income, you will need to start cutting unnecessary expenses; usually money for vacations and fun is the first thing that gets cut ore greatly reduced. Scrutinize every expense. Do you have cable television but don’t watch it? Do you eat out a lot? Do you spend money on things you really don’t need? These are all items that you can delete from your budget and either put the money you save into your emergency fund or use it to pay other important bills.
Another great tip for those living on a single paycheck is learning to examine, and think differently about, your wants and your needs. Many people confuse their wants with their needs. Ask yourself why you want that new blouse? Do you really need it? If you really do need it, buy it or search for a similar item that is cheaper. If you’re contemplating a larger purchase, are you buying that leaf blower because you really need it or are you trying to keep up with your neighbors. Invariably, knowing the difference between needs and wants will save you money.
Another great tip for single paycheck households, and households in general, is to make use of coupons when shopping. To get the most out of coupons, only use the ones that are for the items that you already buy. In other words, don’t buy something just because you have a coupon for it, unless it’s something you have been wanting to try but couldn’t afford unless it was on sale or you had a coupon for it. Another good, coupon-related tip is to search for a grocery store that offers double or even triple coupons. When you buy a sale item and use a coupon you can often times get the item for free if the store allows doubling or tripling of coupons.
Most tips for living on one paycheck are related to spending properly and making the most of every dollar of that paycheck. Making sure you have accounted honestly for every single expense, including entertainment and incidentals like oil changes for your car, is very important. Build frugality into your life; it’s not nearly as painful or dire as you might think. Shopping sales and using coupons are great ways to be frugal. Ask your friends, family or church community for additional tips for living on one paycheck; most people are happy to share their penny-pinching tips.