Last week I wrote about how slavery is still alive and is a sickness in the world today. (Here’s the Link) There is, however, a different kind that no one really calls slavery and it is much more prevalent today. This type of slavery is called living from paycheck to paycheck. The majority of Americans–8 out of 10–live paycheck to paycheck. There are basically two causes for this type of slavery and that is either not earning enough money or having so many financial obligations that individuals are unable to spend their income in the ways that they want.
Most families have no reserves for emergencies. Fortunately, my husband had the foresight to give us a cushion in case of emergencies. Back in October, my husband became ill and was out of work until January. Most families would have had it extremely rough, but we were fortunate that he had the forethought to have a full six months of his income in reserve for such an emergency.
The solution to the slavery of paycheck to paycheck is simple, but not always easy. You either must spend less or earn more or a combination of the two.
How to Save Money
The most important thing for anyone to do is to try to limit their discretionary spending habits. I am not going to give any specific details on how to do this. I will just say that the place to start is to write down everything that you spend your money on for a month. What spending habits can you change even if it is just temporarily? Write down your monthly bills. Look over your list. Are there any there that you can eliminate or reduce? Are there bills that you could pay using automatic payments that will reduce your rate? Are there payments that you could pay every quarter, every six months or even annually that would save you money as well? Plan your purchases. Don’t buy on credit unless absolutely necessary. The object is to spend less money than you bring in and avoid adding any credit card charges. A great goal that will help you getting out of the slavery of living from paycheck to paycheck is to pay off any credit card balances at the end of each month. Using credit cards isn’t the problem. Having credit is good when you need it.
Seven Ways to Earn More Money
Sometimes, just saving money isn’t enough. Sometimes what’s needed is more income. However, taking the step of getting more income without first getting control of your spending could lead to a being more of a slave than you were in when you made less money. So, once you get control of your bills and know what you have to spend, then you can determine how to make additional income.
Get a Raise
The first way to get additional income is to leverage the experience that you have in your current job. If you have worked hard and done a good job, then asking for a raise might be an option for you.
Get a New Higher Paying Job
Another thing that you could do is to get a promotion or go out and look for a higher paying job.
Get a Second Job
If getting a higher paying job is not possible or you like what you’re doing but it’s not paying the bills, getting a second job might be a better option. However, having two jobs is not always a sustainable option. Burning the candle at both ends can wear a body out, keep you from your family, and can turn you into even more of a slave to working for some else.
Sell Your Excess
Today, more than ever, there are ways to sell the things that you no longer use. Go through your closets and storage areas and garage and go through the stuff that you are just storing and haven’t used in a long time. If you have storage units that
Now find the best places to sell your stuff. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. For most clothes and household items you could have a yard sale and clear things out. You might also consider having a stall in a flea market. You can also sell some things to specialty shops. You can also sell on local Facebook selling sites or on eBay. For bigger things there’s Craig’s list.
Clearing out storage lockers that you are paying rental on not only pays you for what you sell out of them, but it frees up that money to invest.
One of the best pieces of financial advice is to invest in yourself. Once you have sold your Excess stuff and closed storage lockers that you no longer need, take the money that you saved and invest it in some way that will pay you back.
Start a Business
The final way to increase your earnings is by starting a business. There is a science and art to starting a business and it is the best way to get free of the slavery of living paycheck to pay check. With starting a business, you will use many of the principles already stated when developing personal finances. The difference between business expenses and personal expenses has to do with the art of utilizing credit. Credit in business should be used for moving your business forward.
Money guru Dave Ramsey has observed that “80 percent of personal finance is behavior” not education. Therefore, make positive financial behavioral changes on a regular basis. Replace bad habits with good ones and set yourself free.