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USAA, a diversified financial services organization, is the leading provider of competitively priced financial planning, insurance, investments, and banking products to members of the U.S. military and their eligible families. Rated among the highest among financial services companies for customer advocacy in a Forrester Research survey, USAA provides convenient and accessible financial products to its more than 9 million members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com

Breaking the Cycle of Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

Keeping a personal budget. Getty Images
Keeping a personal budget. Getty Images

Do you make a decent living yet see yourself counting on that next paycheck to survive?

A recent study shows that 47 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Whether it is due to poor budgeting skills, or perhaps not knowing how much to save a month, people are finding it hard to break out of that cycle.

If you are looking for ways to stretch your pay and break that cycle, here are some things to pay attention to:

Pay attention to where your money is going.

Absolutely nothing will change if you aren't keeping track of where your money is going each payday. You should have a budget set, as well as a method of tracking your spending. You will not be in control and break the cycle without both of these working together.

Pay attention to what your budget says.

Your budget shouldn't be flexible: This mentality makes it awfully hard to save.

Once you make your budget, you should not change it unless you have to add to it, or adjust the numbers based on the amount of the bill.

Also, don't skip paying a bill one month so that you have a little extra spending cash. If you have no disposable income at the end of the month, what are some things you can do to fix this? Perhaps you can pick up some more hours at work, or get a part-time job?

You can also get rid of unnecessary bills and spending, using the money saved to open a separate bank account. A great way to reduce the chances of using this money is to either not request a debit card, or never carry it with you. This will help with the temptation of spending.

Pay attention to what your spending says.

Tracking your outlays will be helpful in determining how much you spend monthly on things that are not in your budget.

Are there any areas where you can reduce spending? Perhaps you like to eat out frequently or go to the movies. If you see a frequent spending pattern, consider cutting down or going without completely until your spending is under control.

This can be harder to do, but once you see the money saved at the end of the month, it will be a sacrifice well worth it.

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Contributor

USAA, a diversified financial services organization, is the leading provider of competitively priced financial planning, insurance, investments, and banking products to members of the U.S. military and their eligible families. Rated among the highest among financial services companies for customer advocacy in a Forrester Research survey, USAA provides convenient and accessible financial products to its more than 9 million members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com

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