How to Live When You Live Paycheck to Paycheck

I love those memes everywhere where it says “When you get paid every two weeks” and the first photo is of a gourmet lobster meal and it’s captioned “Week 1” and then the next picture is a cup full of ice water captioned “Week 2”. It’s funny because it’s true.

Ever since I started working and paying for things I’ve wanted my mom’s always nagging me to keep a “budget” or as she likes to call it a “bou-jay” (Like Tar-jay but budget instead). I’ve never been good keeping a budget or bou-jay, however you want to say it, because in this day in age who really is sitting there balancing a checkbook? Do you even know how to write a check? Probably not. Anyways, I’m more likely to check my Chase account through my app to tell me how much money I have.

My favorite method of keeping myself in balance is using the Mint.com app/website. I sync all of my accounts into it and it emails me when my due dates are approaching. I also like to write down at the beginning of each month what date an upcoming bill is due so that I can plan out between checks what I can pay off with what check.

I used to be afraid of my bills and the (little) money I was bringing in each month. Half the battle is in the unknown. When you can sit down after each month and look at your finances and see where the bulk of your money is going then you can learn to PLAN around it. See how I didn’t say budget? To me budget is like the word “diet” I don’t like to use it because feels like a temporary fix whereas “lifestyle” seems much more attainable.

I will be completely honest I am currently living paycheck to paycheck. I don’t make enough money to enjoy all the things I want to do like going to nice restaurants or going to a festival or buying myself a new outfit or even going out and indulging in a happy hour with friends! I dug myself into the mess I’m in and I’m taking full on acceptance of it and learning how to get myself out of it. I do have my parents to support me with certain things but when you’re 24 and living on your own you want to be able to show them that, “Hey, I’m learning how to adult.” Yea I said “adult”. Sometimes my boyfriend has to be the parent in a situation where I want to splurge on something and he, luckily, talks me out of making a decision I will regret.

What I have started doing, that I find is like the band-aide method for me, is as soon as I get paid I look at what bills I have coming up within the next 2 weeks and sort out from highest to lowest what I can pay. This month I found that I get my next paycheck a few days before a majority of bills are due and since I already paid rent this month and put half towards next months rent in savings I can pay one of my larger bills now and then when I get paid again put it towards the smaller bills. It feels like a win for me! I also will be getting a bonus on my next check for last months commission numbers so it’s even more of a treat! Now I have to decide whether to put it towards treating myself or….. paying off some credit…card…debt…..bah.

Anyways,

just like acknowledging your upcoming bills you can also acknowledge upcoming social engagements and plan ahead for those as well. If you know you’re besties birthday is coming up and you are planning to throw her a small bday dinner followed by some good ol’ bar hopping then it’s probably wise to start setting money aside. I always say the small steps add up. In any case it is always wise to put some money into savings or even a small envelope and do it grandma style (i.e. hiding it under your mattress for a rainy day).

You won’t be broke forever.

That is the glory and glamour of planning out.

I would also like to add that since January 1, 2018 I have yet to spend money on any new clothes! I am in the process of a closet revamp which will be another story!

 

 

 

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