Many people say, it is not about the size of your paycheck, but what you do with your money that counts at the end of every month. A raise or a higher-paying job is of course more ideal but sometimes not realistic. Still, there are ways to stretch your paycheck so it covers all your bills, expenses, and more every month. Here are some tips to help you out.
- Start to budget.
By carefully planning your income and expenses, you will be able to spend on things that you want and cover your bills at the same time. Plan ahead and keep track of each dollar you earn and spend. Prioritize your bills and needs first. Being organized with your money will help you succeed.
- Take care of your withholdings.
If you want to maximize the money you earn, get a flexible spending account or FSA and contribute to your 401(k) or IRA. These may reduce your income but these are important investments for the future. Your FSA allows you to set aside money for eligible healthcare or childcare expenses with pre-tax dollars, thus saving you money. Meanwhile, your retirement contributions come out before taxes and you save even more if your employer contributes to your account.
- Shop for better rates on your monthly expenses.
Check how much you pay for your cell phone, cable, and insurance monthly bills. Look at what companies are offering new customers and you may find better deals. Shopping around can lower your monthly bills and help stretch your dollars further.
- Do not create new debt.
If a portion of your paycheck goes to debt, make sure you do not create more until all your interest are cleared and your debt busted. Pay with cash so you see your money leaving your hands and get a better idea on your spending habits.
- Look for free activities.
What does your local community center or library has to offer? Maybe you can borrow entertainment or attend outdoor events for free. Be on the lookout for these opportunities because they can lower your costs and still ensure you are having a good time.