It’s scary to contemplate that for almost 16 years I’ve lived paycheck-to-paycheck. With each new job, every new salary bump, lifestyle inflation crept in. Before you blink, you’ve bought a house with zero down, bought your first new car in years thinking you’ve worked hard so you deserve it instead of a used one, you’ve told yourself you deserve fancier clothes – the list is endless if you allow it.
Before you know it, you feel like Tris in Divergent locked in a glass box filling with water and no way out. Until one day…your brain decides it’s sick of drowning in debt slowly and painfully. Reality is only what you choose it to be.
According to CNN Money, 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.
Dismal numbers, eh?
It doesn’t have to be.
How so? Sacrifice. Change. Break the glass! This IS an emergency.
As part of my YNAB budgeting journey, I decided that starting in September I’d work towards Rule Four: The Rule of Cash flow. According to YNAB, it takes the average person four months to get ahead by one month; I’m going to try and do it in three.
Based on my surveys, it takes an average of four months to get one month ahead. Think of that, what you earn in February, you use in March. – Jesse Mecham
Why am I doing this?
Well, why not? What could I possibly lose aside from some sleep? Many of you know my adoration for experiments, and this is right up there with doing the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal challenge earlier this year.
Another reason is that August was a budgetarily (apparently this is not a word – thx spellchecker) challenged month and September could be similar if I allow it to happen.
I don’t want it to happen. I want to get ahead. I want to be debt free before my 40th birthday. The chances are getting slimmer the more crap I let slip by. So, when you want to fix something, you change it up. You stop allowing things to happen to you and take action.
How am I going to accomplish this?
The goal, in case you forgot, is to go one entire month without using that months pay. In other words, by December I should not have to use my paychecks for that month.
- I have no cable or home phone, that money suck is solved.
- I am doubling up on car payments to pay it off. This will be fun.
- I’m going uber frugal with groceries, restaurants and coffee shops.
- I’ll meal plan my butt off to make frugal meals happen.
- I’ll clean out the cupboards – meaning finish the steel cut oats and any other bulk foods. Use it all to MY advantage. It doesn’t have to be ramen noodles, but it may just be oatmeal for brekkie and rice and beans for dinner.
- I’ll brown bag it. Every, single day.
- I’ll be taking public transportation as much as I possibly can. Especially while volunteering. Hello 5AM wakeup!
- I’ll attempt to earn additional income by either A) selling more stuff, or B) earning more commission at work, or C) side hustling.
- I’ll leave my credit cards at home every workday. Only one comes out for groceries and gas.
Mathematically, this is going to be tricky. It’s going to take some determination and major hustling.
The car appears to be the biggest roadblock. There is $6500 remaining, which means I would need 4 months at $1625 in payments. This is tricky but not impossible. Although it does mean I take 4 months instead of the 3 I’m trying to achieve. We’ll see… 🙂
However, if I cut my fuel in half by taking public transportation this just may work. Remember, I’m reimbursed for most work travel expenses.
For the remainder of my monthly expenses, if I buckle down and have no deviations in my budget, it’s doable. I must follow the list above. I am going to attempt to live on $2400 a month, which I have never achieved. My lowest month was January at $3800.
If I want to succeed, I’ll make it happen.
Let the fun begin! For the next 3 months, I’m going super turbo charged frugal. I’m going to prove you can break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and attempt it in 3 months.