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In the US, 60-70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and for most, this can be extremely stressful and makes life hard to enjoy. The good news is there are ways to keep from living like this without writing the next big musical hit, scoring the game winning touchdown or hitting that game winning shot to win the finals. However, there will be a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance required. In fact, it will require you to change how you look at your entire life, create new habits, and decide to take control over your finances. Finances will need to become a focal point from which all other actions and decisions will flow. If that sounds like a difficult task that’s because it is and will be quite challging at first but possible to do once you get the hang of it. Below is a list of nine tips that will help improve you financial situation according to Local 4 news.

  • 1. Track Your Spending

    Start a log book. Start at the first of this month and track your expenses. Write down everything that’s coming in, all of your income then write down all of your expenses.

  • 2. Repeat step 1

    That right do everything you did in step 1 in step 2.

  • 3. Learn to budget and then commit to using it

    While it may sound boring, you can easily create a budget based on what you learned about your spending. There are a lot of free budgeting apps and computer programs available online, and they usually come with tutorials. No excuses!

  • 4. Start an emergency fund

    To begin, its highly recommended that you put $1,000 in a safe deposit box if possiable.This cash reserve will keep you from blowing up your budget when unexpected expenses happen such as Michigan potholes blow one of your tires, washing machine goes out, etc. Additionally, I recommend Credit Unions since they are non-profits and do not charge excessive fees.

  • 5. Reduce debt (especially credit card debt)

    You should check all your credit cards to find out what interest rates you’re paying. To reduce your debt and increase the amount you pay to it each month, lower interest rates are necessary, thus the suggestion from the Credit Union. Your credit union may be able to help you reduce the interest rate on that debt you are trying to pay off through a debt consolidation loan.

  • 6. Invest your savings

    When the need arises, you will want to be able to easily access some funds, so keep some on hand.

  • 7. Look for ways to increase income

    It is always good to consider a new and better job, but not always the best solution. The gig economy and side hustles are always available Place like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Uber Eats and instacart are all good places to earn extra cash. The more important thing is to keep the income coming in and adjust it where you can, instead of blowing things up and causing major problems.

  • 8. Have a Will and Medical Advance Directives

    This seems counterproductive to getting off the hamster wheel, but it is something every one of us needs to do, and this is the best place to make the point. When you die without a will, you leave behind a mess for your family.

  • 9. Reward yourself

    At some point in this process, you should start to have some extra money. As a reward for all your hard work, don’t blow the budget, but treat yourself