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How To Save Money When Your Living Paycheck To Paycheck

January 17, 2018

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How To Save Money When Your Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Are you tired of working hard at your job and giving your whole check to bills just to survive?

That was me a year ago. I’m a single mom and I have a 3-year-old daughter and do not receive any type of assistance or benefits because where I live let’s just say you can’t make a dollar and be on assistance whether you are a single mom or not. So nowadays you hear about minimum wage going up. Well, what people don’t think about is that the cost of living goes up to so it mind as well have not gone up at all. If you live in a state like I do where everyone is moving to due to some type of attraction then the cost of living goes up even more. You guessed it, I live in Colorado where weed became legal so everyone is moving here. So once I was pregnant I thought about getting a job but I was also a high-risk pregnancy. She was born at 32 weeks so she was early. At that point, I was not thinking about getting a job until I brought her home and wondered how I was going to afford everything it takes to be a good mom. The jobs that I got paid minimum wage.

So I noticed after 2 months that I was really spending more money than I made. Don’t even know how that is possible. Also, with no child support, I was really having a tough time. I asked a couple people I knew who I thought were good with money how I could start budgeting. My dad told me the best way and the way I have done my monthly budget ever since. No matter how much money you make you can follow this plan. I will show you a few examples. I know your rent won’t be the same and your bills but its the method that works.

Let’s do this together, get out a sheet of paper and write down how much you get paid and how often so my example here is what it should kind of look like. (with different numbers I’m sure

So let’s just say you make $11.00 an hour right and you work full time so 40 hours a week. Below I have some sample paycheck you would have if you got paid weekly, bi-weekly- or monthly.


Weekly Paycheck = $440

Week 1 = $____________

Week 2 = $____________

Week 3 = $____________

Week 4= $____________

Total Monthly Income = $1,760

Bi-Weekly Paycheck = $880

Week 2 = $__________

Week 4 = $__________

Total Monthly Income = $1,760

Monthly Paycheck = $1,760

Date You Get Paid = $___________

(not bad for 11 bucks an hour right?)

Now on your sheet of paper anywhere we are going to list your major bills. You may have a different bill but here are the most common now only list the ones you need we need to separate the needs and the wants. Don’t worry you will still be able to get some of your wants I wont totally rule it out.

Some Examples of bills are:


Cell Phone



Gas / Water

Car Payment

Car Insurance

Diapers / Wipes


Now let’s list out some of your wants

Bath and Shower Products


Kids Toys

Personal Items For You


Gas For The Gas

Anything Else you can think of,

Don’t write how much everything cost yet. No matter what I want you to put the word savings on this list even if you do not have even a penny to save. Now before I go any further if you don’t know what you spend on what I reccomend getting the app on your phone called Mint and you can access it online as well. This will tell you your spending habits and what not.

Let’s go back up to the NEEDS list we made. Next, to each category/bill write how much you estimate spending this month on this, and then do the same for the WANTS list. This does not have to be exact or perfect but most people know their spending habits. Try your best not to lower the amount on anything yet just your honest guess for now.

Now let’s say you get paid weekly right, so I will use the example I made above. Say I made 440 a week and my rent is $500 a month. The next thing I would do is divide that bill of 500 by 4 and see what I get. The answer is $125.00 So with this $440 paycheck I am going to do one of 2 things. I’m going to open another savings account for just my bills. Now I have a bank that it is free to do this with but if you don’t you can always just grab an envelope and put the money in there. I am now going to put $125 of each weekly paycheck into that envelope or savings account.

I am going to do this with all the bills that are on my NEEDS list.  With the savings I want you to put any number that is between the number 15 – 30 After a month or two you will know the exact number of how much you spend on what.

So say that I picked the number $25 for my savings category. I’m going to put 25 dollars in an envelope or account that is separate from my checking and from my bills account or envelope. You should have 3 different envelopes or accounts now. 1 for spending 1 for bills and 1 for savings. Are you with me here? Ok, good!

So this means at the end of week 4 I would have enough for my bills and still save.

Now we have to move to the wants list. Do the same thing. Guess on the amount you spend on these things. If you at the number you get from your wants and needs and you get a bigger number than your monthly income. I’m sorry but we have to lower your wants spending. If this means you don’t get to buy your kid a toy every time you go to the store (I used to do that lol Guilty) then so be it. Maybe get rid of cable and get the Amazon Fire Stick it is way cheaper in the long run.

Don’t forget you have that savings envelope. This part I can not do for you so have some kind of control. I still have a hard time with this. Whatever you do, do not touch that savings money EVER!


I have included some budgeting kits below.