Many people find themselves living paycheck to paycheck, unable to save and most likely worrying at the end of each month if their remaining pay is going to last them. This lifestyle means that a person would experience severe financial stress if he or she did not receive their next paycheck. It is estimated that 78% of workers in the US live paycheck to paycheck, which makes this way of living extremely common. It’s a sad state of affairs. It means that the large majority of people may be suffering from chronic financial worry, and are unable to put aside money each month for things like holidays, a deposit for a house, or retirement savings.
There are, of course, many reasons that people find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. A high cost of living, low pay, stagnant wages, and commuting are all relevant factors. Moving city and changing jobs could resolve these issues, but this isn’t an option for many people, especially if one is satisfied with where they live and their work. However, people often don’t consider (or don’t take seriously) that certain lifestyle choices and habits make it difficult to save money every month. Ideally, we could all have a career that allows us to live the lifestyle we want, but until that goal is achieved, it’s wise to make some lifestyle adjustments to stave off financial stress and save money every month for the things that matter.
A lot of habits aren’t just costly to our health, they’re financially costly as well. Expensive, unhealthy habits may include drinking regularly at bars, clubs, and pubs, and buying cigarettes every day. A drinking and smoking habit can involve quite a lot of spending each month, so cutting back on both – or even trying to quit both – will improve your bank balance, as well as your health. Other unhealthy habits that can become costly include excessive coffee drinking, getting takeaways all the time, and regularly buying expensive drugs like cocaine.
It’s not only takeaways that cause our bank balance to suffer, but it’s also all our other food choices. Understandably, people who come home tired from work might not have the energy to start cooking a decent meal from scratch. Instead, they will grab a ready meal that can be put in the microwave and be ready in a few minutes. This can sometimes be cheaper than buying all the individual ingredients for that meal and making it from scratch. But often, the best way to save money when it comes to food shopping is to cook up a big batch of food and eat it over several days. Also, there are plenty of meals that are very quick and easy to make, which will be healthier than a ready meal (these can contain high amounts of sugar and salt, as well as all sorts of chemicals you’d rather not be ingesting).
An expensive lifestyle also tends to involve eating out a lot and making impulse buys on food. Declining invitations to go out to eat isn’t fun. But you don’t have to sit at home eating rice and beans to save money while everyone else is enjoying themselves. Instead, consider good quality restaurants and cafes that are affordable as well. Also, try to get in the habit of eating homemade meals with people, whether that’s lunch in the park, dinner at home, or a barbecue in the garden.
Other than the food we buy, other spending habits can cause us to run out of money at the end of each month. This would include the clothes we buy and how often we buy clothes. It’s important to weigh up the benefits of having lots of expensive clothing and the downsides of this breaking your bank. The truth is that you don’t need to shop at high-end outlets or have a large array of clothes to achieve the look you want. If you shop smart, you can ensure that you will get clothes that suit you, fit well, and last, helping you avoid the situation of just collecting clothes that never get worn or that quickly deteriorate, forcing you to replace them. Moreover, if you do most of your clothes shopping at charity shops, you’ll be able to find incredible deals on high-quality and stylish items of clothing that are difficult to find anywhere else.
To help you put these lifestyle changes into action, try budgeting using the 50-30-20 formula. By planning out your expenses in this way, it will make it easier to know how much money you have to spend on your lifestyle and allow you to save some serious cash in the long run.