Half of American families report living paycheck to paycheck. No one wants this kind of stress – and some make it worse by making bad financial decisions. While whether you get a promotion or raise ultimately is out of your hands, there are things you can do and NOT do to stay fiscally responsible in trying times. Here’s a list of things NOT to do when you’re trying to save money:-Eating out. Restaurants can be expensive, and in America, we tip. Save money by taking your lunch to work or having dinner at the table at home.-Taking out a loan. Do you really need a new car? Or a new home? A loan means another monthly payment, and missing them means increased payments, and increased stress.-Buying non-necessities. Food, water, and shelter are essential to life. An extra pair of strappy heels or Nike running shoes is not. Consider reigning in your spending to the important things in life.-Going out or “partying.” We all know drinks are expensive. Cabs and Uber rides can also cut into your financials after a night out.-Using cable or DirectTV. Cable bills are notorious for being expensive. But how many channels of that unlimited package you sprung for are you actually watching? Cut the cord and go for streaming services, or cable competitors like Sling.-Paying bills late. Late fees are real and they sting. The longer you wait, the higher they go. Pay your bills on time to avoid this. Be cognizant of when they’re due. Auto-payment may be a bad idea when you’re pinching, so maintain a healthy calendar.-Not driving places you can walk to. Gas is expensive. If you live within a mile of somewhere you need to go, and the weather is permitting, walk there. You could also ride your bike, or another mode of transportation that is essentially free.-Not car pooling to work. Again, gas is expensive. Consider making a carpool schedule with coworkers so you all benefit from driving your cars less.-Go on costly dates. We all want to impress a person we are courting, but if you’ve moved past that stage, you can begin doing inexpensive or free things – like hiking or binge watching a reality show.-Rule out a part-time job. If you have the time and energy and desperately need extra cash, getting a second, part-time job is a smart option.-Getting a daily latte or cappuccino from Starbucks. Imagine buying one every day for a week: that’s roughly $35 dollars a week – dependent on size and drink – you could be using for something else.-Gambling. This should seem obvious if you’re not financially healthy enough to head to the poker table. Even if you think you can win it big and gather enough money to help pull you from a financial strain, the odds are generally stacked against you.-Going on elaborate vacations. Think about everything that goes into a vacation: transportation, hotels, food, and recreation. It’s a lot. That being said, vacations can be good for the soul. An alternative may be a “staycation” during the off-season in your own city and state.-Working out at a fancy gym. If you’re trying to save money, and stay in shape, there is a plethora of free resources online for “at-home” workouts. If your neighborhood is safe, you can also just run or hike outside.-Using credit cards. If you have trouble keeping up on payments, using credit cards during a financial hardship is not a wise choice. The bills can easily add up, and you may feel the urge to open another to keep spending. How do you manage to stay financially stable? Let us know some more tips in the comments, and remember you can also use our set of free calculators to help budget your paychecks.
These free resources should not be taken as tax or legal advice. Content provided is intended as general information. Tax regulations and laws change and the impact of laws can vary. Consult a tax advisor, CPA or lawyer for guidance on your specific situation.