Last Updated on
I recently heard on the radio that many federal workers who are not being paid are in need of food donations. When I started writing this article, the unpaid federal workers had missed only one paycheck, and are in danger of not being able to provide food for their family.
Can you imagine this predicament? Perhaps you are one of those employees. This article is in no way meant to shame or undermine any of our government employees who are struggling financially. I empathize with you and I hope you start receiving regular paychecks soon – if the government is still shut down by the time this article posts.
How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck
With that being said, there are so many people in this country who are living paycheck to paycheck. The idea that thousands of employees who missed only one paycheck are in danger of not being able to purchase food is embarrassing. We need to be better than this. It means the sales and marketing businesses are winning, and we as a whole are losing.
With many Americans struggling to make ends meet, this lifestyle almost seems natural. The overwhelming theme is that we don’t make enough money. If we received a bigger raise or a bigger bonus, things would be different. I’m sure many of these federal workers have been struggling financially for quite some time.
This is not a new phenomenon. Why do so many of us choose to live our lives filled with financial stress?
In reality, our personal finances are one of the easier things we actually can control in this life. Before you disagree with me, take a moment and think about it. Each month we know approximately how much money we are going to bring in. Granted, those of us with variable incomes must do more averaging, but generally, we know what we will bring in.
Controlling Our Spending
The problem is not with our income, no matter how much you make. The problem is with our spending. We have a plan on how we are going to make our money, but after it enters our bank account, most of us do not have a plan to spend it.
Yes, we have our rent and utilities, but our food bills are all over the place as is our entertainment and shopping.
I’m here to tell you that even with a low income, you can save money and invest. What about unexpected bills such as vehicle repairs or a government shutdown? By preparing for the unexpected, we can protect ourselves from these spontaneous life issues. Do you have emergency savings with $1,500 to $2,000 in cash?
You should have this sitting in a bank account – not making any money. In the event your car breaks down or you miss a paycheck, you have the cash to immediately pay for necessities. An emergency savings is not to be touched, except for a real emergency!
Keep these emergency savings filled. If you pull from it for a true emergency, fill it back up immediately. If you think about it, if you properly prepare for financial issues, they will not qualify as “emergencies” anymore. However, if you truly are concerned about your income and it’s taking too long to fill your savings, it may be time for a side hustle.
Prepare For The Worst, Expect The Best
What should you do in the event of a government shut down, or a loss of employment? That is what your 6 months of daily living expenses are for. This may seem like an impossible suggestion, but you can accomplish this if you put your mind to it.
Many people do not have the willpower to leave money in the bank. It’s a lifestyle and mental challenge – one that starts with you. You are the only one in control of your money.
Arrest Your Debt's Pro Tip:
Track your investments for free with Personal Capital. It's how I track my pension and retirement funds.
Plan for the worst but expect the best is a great rule to live by. Prepare for life with emergency savings and 6 months of living expenses – in cash, and you will be covered in a worst-case scenario.
If you need a refresher on the steps to get there, refer to my Debt Payoff Playbook where I detail when and how you should be saving in your journey to be debt-free.
Standing In Line At A Food Bank
If you refuse to control your spending and follow a budget, you have put you and your family at risk. It may seem like a scare tactic but it’s the reality. Thousands of federal workers are in need of food donations after missing a single paycheck. This is unacceptable, we should not be this unprepared for life.
We need to stop setting ourselves up for failure. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. It’s as simple as that. It’s time we stop living in fear of the unknown and living paycheck to paycheck. Refuse to spend more than you make and start making a plan for your money. It’s really that simple – the hardest part is changing your mindset.
We must change the social norms that say it’s acceptable to buy something we don’t have the cash for. The social norms that say carrying a credit card balance with an 18% interest rate is totally fine. It’s not fine, it is making you broke and causing you a ton of unnecessary stress in this life.
I do not want to see you standing in line at a local food bank because of a lack of planning. Make the decision today to stop your out of control spending and to get on track.
Get to the point where a $2,000 vehicle repair bill will not send you spiraling further into debt. The main problem is you don’t know any better because you have never known any different. My friends, now you know better, and it’s time to change your life.
Thank you so much for reading and I encourage you to check out my other posts. I am on a personal mission to financially educate as many people as I can. It’s time to get out of debt – and stay that way! Please subscribe to my blog below so you never miss a post. You work too hard to be this broke!