Knowing how to get the most out of your paycheck is one of the things that can really help you to make it till your next payday, if you are one of those who live “paycheck to paycheck”! I can’t count the number of times I've wondered if my bank account would stretch, but these tips have always helped me to push through! Living on a lower income can be challenging, but it IS doable. And of course, you can still afford nice things if you save up and work hard. If you want to know how to get the most out of your paycheck, keep on reading because I've got you covered!
1. Watch out for “Small” Expenses
Here’s one way to learn how to get the most out of your paycheck. Small expenses can really take a toll on your wallet if you don’t keep an eye out. Little things that you may dismiss as no big deal, such as ATM fees, Apple iTunes charges, or extra expresso shots in your coffee can add up quickly! These expenses are completely avoidable, so dismiss them from your wallet range, and find that you can get $10-$20 more out of your paycheck!
2. Use Coupons
This is a song that has been sung before, but how true it is! I've been able to save a good chunk on my grocery bill by using coupons. The trick is to only use coupons that are for items you would have purchased anyway. Don’t buy something just because you have a coupon for it. You can even use coupons for things like oil changes and haircuts! By using coupons you can get up to $50 or more from your paycheck!
3. Join Rewards Programs
One way to stretch your paycheck out is to join rewards programs to help you earn points and freebies! Many local grocery stores, gas stations, video rental places, and even restaurants may have rewards clubs that can help you get a free meal or gift card once you earn so many points. I just received a gift card to my favorite store in the mall for cashing in my rewards points from my credit card! Just ask, it doesn't hurt to find out when you could be scoring bonuses!
4. Pick and Choose What to Hang on to
I've often been able to get more out of my paycheck by not getting rid of items I plan to use in the future. For example, Christmas decorations, workout equipment, or baby items can be saved and re-used! No need to shell out for something if you still have it. But there are some items you can make a little extra cash for by selling them. Old clothes, furniture, even cars you don’t really need can bring in a little extra spending money. The idea is to decide what you can re-use, and get rid of the rest!
5. Stop Eating out
You may surprised to find out how much money can drain out of your paycheck by the amount of eating out that you do. Even just eating out twice a week can cost more than $100 per paycheck. Try to cut back on eating out, or save it for only special occasions! Cooking at home is much more affordable, and can be just as enjoyable as going out.
6. Cash Only
Here’s a surefire way to stretch your paycheck and get more out of it. Decide what your budget for that week will be, then withdraw the amount of cash you have set for that budget. Leave your cards at home, and carry only the cash. This will keep you from impulsive buying, and force you to stay within your limit of spending! You can’t spend money you don’t have, so use this method for getting more out of your paycheck. By the end of the month, you’ll be left with money in your bank account to spare rather than being stuck without any money till your next paycheck.
7. Just Ask
I prefer dealing with local businesses over chain businesses. With local businesses, you can generally get an even better deal on larger, pricier items. Ask to speak with the manager, and then find out what kind of deal he or she can offer you. If you buy in bulk, or make a large purchase, the business owner or manager may work with you! And always ask, no matter where you shop. The store may be running a special or a sale that isn't advertised. If you can save any amount of money, it will help stretch your paycheck out!
Not something many of us like to think about, but sometimes downgrading can save a large chunk of money and help stretch out your paycheck! Ask yourself if you really use your phone plan to it’s extent, or if you even use your cable and home Internet. Taking a step down might be worth it if you can save a little money. Look into finding a better insurance rate for your vehicle and health insurance as well. Most companies are willing to work with you if you've been with them for a while and you let them know you may be shopping around for some better rates.
These are all tips that I've been using for quite awhile, and I assure you they do work! It takes discipline to maintain a budget and to work with what you've got, but no one said living within your means would be easy! What’s the alternative, debt over your head? I hope these tips for how to get the most out of your paycheck will inspire you to see what you can save this month! Please, comment with your own suggestions below!