Working hard, but stuck in a limited income rut. Too many modern urban professionals identify with that dichotomy. But a better life needn’t seem all that distant. Pull up your sleeves, and follow these four basic tips to reduce your paycheck-dependency.
1. Bring in that Missing Discipline
First thing to do is to acknowledge that there is something amiss in your financial landscape. Prepare a clear, honest budget by diligently enlisting exactly how much money is available for your use every month. Include your primary income, plus any other supplementary sources. Based on this information, start tightening up your life. Prepare a spending list, and tag all needs according to priority. Once drawn, stick to the list. If you happen to falter, then recoup and start again. There is no real harm in drawing and redrawing budget and priority lists, because emergencies keep cropping up. But don’t let indiscipline derail you!
Truncate your expenses by focusing on current essentials. Keep non-essential/luxury spending out of your mind till the basics have been taken care of.
To allay any anxiety, pay all bills on time. This will also ensure a clear view of your disposable income at all times.
As much as is possible, don’t accumulate debt. If liabilities do crop up, give them the second rung on your priorities list and channel some extra income towards their repayment.
Involve your whole family in the mission. Teach your children how to be frugal yet happy. It is a lesson they will cherish for a lifetime!
2.Make all the Small Changes
Simplify your life. Walk to work, or use the public transport, to cut down fuel expenses. Aside from occasional treats at outside eateries, cook for yourself, carry tiffin boxes, and keep a tight rein on food wastage. These tricks will also keep you healthy, and help you cut down on medical expenses. A lot of the health troubles today are lifestyle-related, so take care of yourself and watch your health.
Around the house, become a DIY master! Use as many fix-it-yourself tricks as possible. Empower yourself by learning home-maintenance hacks online. Repair stuff like furniture and plumbing in time, and reuse whatever is possible. Try selling off extra stuff about you before they degrade in value; this will de-clutter your space as well.
3.Build Savings, and a Contingency Corpus
The greatest danger of this lifestyle is when an emergency expense pops up and you either risk losing all your monthly income, or end up scrambling for your savings. The biggest security then of course is to have some solid savings that can help you tide over the rest of the month. Carefully plan your expenses, and then divide the rest in at least a couple of savings options – preferably one liquid, and another locked.
When sustaining life on a limited income, create a personal emergency fund. It could be a small savings account even, but it should remain out of reach unless when an urgent need emerges. Build it slowly, but definitely steadily!
4.Go the Extra Mile
A paycheck-driven life needn’t be a permanent reality for you. A lot of us get stuck in dead-end, low-paying jobs because of a multitude of reasons, but there are always avenues to make life better. After you have put the above mentioned tips in place, try to identify any free time, and especially, any latent or bubbling talent. And get to some extra work!
Pick up a freelance job, or maybe some part-time commitment. Make use of the Internet to possibly kick-start a secondary career and income stream. Some blue-collar jobs will be able to line your pockets with extra money too.
If cheaper options are available, then educate yourself. An extra degree could open doors to better jobs. Even some apprentice jobs or internships can assign you with greater work experience and an insider view of a different stream of work.
The key is to keep moving on a disciplined, hopeful lane.