How to Stop Living Pay Cheque to Pay Cheque

Getting out of the cycle of living pay cheque to pay cheque takes discipline and perseverance, but it’s not impossible. Here are five steps to help you gain a financial foothold.

If you live pay cheque to pay cheque, the 25th of the month can seem like a shining light of welcome financial relief. But the relief it offers can be all too fleeting as your expenses and debit orders quickly rob you of your salary, leaving you gazing longingly towards payday once again. Getting out of this cycle takes discipline and perseverance, but it’s not impossible. Here are five steps to help you gain a financial foothold so that you can get to the end of the month and still have some money left over.

  1. Budget, budget, budget: You’ve heard this one before, but that’s because it’s true. Draw up a list of your income and expenses, and if the latter outweighs the former, admit that you’ve got to make some important changes so that you can live within your means. This might mean limiting certain luxuries, such as eating out or going on expensive holidays.
  2. Keep track of your spending: You might think you’re only spending a certain amount on entertainment every month, but how can you be sure if you’re not keeping a close eye on your spending? Track every cent you spend for a period of time – either manually or by using apps (22seven and YNAB are some good ones to try). The results will highlight your blind spots and pitfalls. 
  3. Put your credit cards away: This can be difficult if you’re living your life on credit or, even worse, relying on your overdraft, but you’re not going to change your financial situation without dealing with your credit status. Be disciplined about paying off your credit cards and store cards, even if it’s little by little, month by month.
  4. Stay motivated: Why do you want to stop living from pay cheque to pay cheque? Are you tired of the constant anxiety and stress, or do you have a specific goal in mind? Maybe you’re saving up for a home of your own, or you need to cover your children’s school fees. Keeping your motivation top of mind will help you stay on track.
  5. Surround yourself with like-minded people: If your friends see ongoing debt as a foregone conclusion, it might be time to put a little distance in place. This may sound dramatic, but surrounding yourself with people who are serious about managing their money can be encouraging and inspiring. At the very least, try and find someone you feel comfortable talking to about your financial position and decisions, as they can support you as you work your way towards financial freedom.

Getting yourself on track financially doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’re in serious debt. It can be a very slow process. The most important thing is to hammer away consistently, and to keep your eye on the prize. A few months from now – a year from now – you could be in an entirely different financial situation, where you’ve allowed yourself breathing room between pay cheques. Now that’s something worth striving for. 

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