It never feels good to get online, log into your bank account and realize that you may not have enough to get through to your next paycheck. Although that realization can create a knot in your stomach, the solution isn’t to beat yourself up. It’s also important to know that you’re far from being alone. A study published by Reuters found that over 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. While that statistic won’t change your current situation, it should be at least a little reassuring to know that you’re far from being the first person to face this challenge.
Even though there are probably things you wish you could go back and change, that’s simply not how life works. However, just because you can’t go back and change the past doesn’t mean your future has to be bleak. If you’re willing to make some significant changes, it’s definitely possible to whip your financial health into shape.
Get Yourself on Solid Ground
Whether you have a massive amount of debt to pay off or you simply want to get your finances in order so you can begin saving for things like an emergency or retirement, the first step is to deal with any immediate issues you’re facing. For example, if your bank account is currently near zero but some type of direct withdrawal is going to be made from it before your next paycheck is deposited, the last thing you want is for your balance to turn negative. Not only can that bring down your credit, but it also means that you’re going to have to pay anywhere from $20-$35 for an overdraft or returned withdrawal fee.
In order to avoid that situation, you need to get money in your account. For some individuals, they may be able to borrow from a friend or family member. But because so many people have their own money issues to tackle, that type of borrowing may not be an option. If that describes your predicament, the good news is there’s still another way to get a loan. The solution is to go through a lender like HotPayDay.com. With this type of service, you can get up to $500 in as little as one business day without needing to be subjected to a credit check.
How to Take Control of Your Finances
Once you’ve addressed any immediate concerns, you can begin looking towards the future. For many people, the first step in that process is to take a long, hard look at their finances. Taking this step can be unpleasant. But it’s an absolute necessity to get on the right track. By seeing exactly why you’re currently living beyond your means, you can identify where you need to focus your energy.
After you figure out the things that are causing you to consistently overspend, you can create a basic monthly budget. This should include your fixed expenses like rent or mortgage and insurance, as well as categories for things like food and entertainment. Additionally, you need to decide how much you want to save each month, and include that figure in your budget.
Does writing down a budget mean all your money challenges are going to disappear? For most people, the answer to that question is no. While it’s good to include details in your budget, the reason it’s not worth stressing too much when putting it together is because you’re really just creating a rough draft. Once you start following your new budget, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re going to run into some challenges.
The important thing to remember is those challenges don’t mean your budget is a failure. Instead, it simply means you need to be open to adjusting it. By improving your budget over time, you’ll be able to gradually craft one that’s both realistic to follow and helps you move towards accomplishing your financial goals. As you hone your budget, it’s also worth keeping an eye out for additional areas where you can cut costs. Although small reductions may not seem like much, their cumulative impact can really add up.
Creating a budget that consistently works will take some time. But as long as you stick with it and don’t let yourself get discouraged, you’ll be able to get on the right track and put an end to the cycle of wondering if you’re going to have enough money in your bank account to get you through the next week.
Author Byline: Elsa Wade has been writing about personal finance for the last six years. She’s committed to helping as many people as possible achieve financial freedom by sharing practical and actionable advice.