By Joan Lee
on October 8, 2019
Read in 1 min

Many Americans find themselves getting caught in cycles of paying hefty bills and dealing with debt. If you're one of those Americans, what do you plan to do about it? Your first thought is probably to get to a higher paying job or maybe even find a business opportunity. Those are both good goals to aspire to and work hard to make happen. In the meantime, you might do more for your budget by figuring how to regulate your expenses and save more. But what's the first step to doing that?

Realize What's Costing You Your Lifestyle

There are many expenses that will eat into your paycheck after taxes, and the biggest one almost always is housing. The second biggest one is usually transportation, and the third and fourth are food and healthcare. Below them, entertainment, recreation, apparel, and other miscellaneous items make up the rest. Most of the upper expenses are things you'll need. It's important to know which expenses you need to pay for first. This way you can allocate them to your budget or tweak it as needed.

How to Use Alternatives to Your Regular Expenses

You can save more on costs by using lower-priced alternatives or doing things a little different than you might do. For example, a roommate is probably the best option to cut rent or mortgage payments. Transportation costs like gas and insurance can be foregone if you were willing to do carpooling or ride-sharing. Other savings tips could be only shopping using coupons, eating out less, and using alternative entertainment instead of cable TV. The more money you can put back in your budget, the more you'll be ready to get ahead financially.

Using Cash Advance Loans to Pay for Emergency Expenses

Even if you cut down expenses and have more in savings, what happens if you're faced with an emergency savings can't cover? Should you turn to a payday or installment loan for assistance? You should try to get at least $1,000 or more in your savings account to cover emergencies, but even if you don't have that amount or need more, you should still consider other sources for assistance. An emergency short-term loan from a credit union, a loan from family and friends and even a pawn or jewelry loan can be better. But if you can't look to any of those options, make sure you have a plan in place to pay off your installment loan as soon as your paycheck arrives, and avoid making a habit of turning to this form of financing.

This is not legal or financial advice. Please consult a legal or financial advisor for your specific situation.