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Secret To Breaking The Paycheck To Paycheck Lifestyle

Posted Nov 21 2008 1:55pm

Photo courtesy of atp_tyreseus

For those living paycheck to paycheck, or struggling with some other aspect of their finances, a “spending fast” could help break the addictive behaviors costing you money.

The majority of workers are paid biweekly, and spend the weekend between paychecks digging for loose change to make ends meet. We were no exception. Back when I earned very little money, and my wife and I had our first child, we used credit cards to float until the next pay weekend.

This behavior inevitably led to the accumulation of credit card debt which took some time to work off. The answer to our problem, which unfortunately was not obvious to us at the time, was that we were continuing to spend money we didn’t have. And when we did manage to save a little from each paycheck for the next weekend, it was all gone by Saturday afternoon.

We needed to do something radical to break from this cycle.  We started declaring “no-spend” weekends, and putting ourselves on a spending diet from Friday night to Monday morning. The trick to this was to initiate the fast when we had money, beginning on payday. This forced us to learn to delay purchasing things we really wanted, and prepare by only buying things we really needed.

After trying this for a couple pay cycles we discovered that it was a nice feeling to still have cash a week after payday and not have to rely on credit cards. We also found that our unplanned spending decreased as we became more discriminating in our purchases.

Calculating our savings on Sunday evening was the best part!  At the end of our spending fast we reflected on all the things we used to do that took money. Eating out, going to movies, and shopping out of boredom really add up! We started looking for more frugal ways to spend our weekends and discovered that the greatest things in life really are free.

Along with the end of these frugal weekend purchases we also saw a drop in our credit card balances. If you find yourselves currently stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck routine I highly recommend going on a diet - a spending diet. Use this 48-hour weekend spending fast to get you started.

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