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Advice Needed: What is the easiest way to manage a weekly paycheck...

Posted by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM
  • 20 Replies

What is the easiest way to manage a weekly paycheck while paying regular bills and debt?

I'm a single mom of three kids living with my parents.  I've been at my new job for 3 months making decent money plus overtime.  I also get child support from two different places.  I desperately need to figure out how to use my money more efficiently to not only pay off debt but save for our future.

I should be way ahead of where I'm at now but I'm not sure where all of my money is going.

by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM
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by Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 5:27 PM
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Write down every expense you have and every purchase you make. Everything, even a stupid pack of gum.

Evaluate your spending and make cuts. Easy things like eating out or stopping for coffee are great cuts to start with.

Then figure out bigger things you can cut back on. If say cut cable and whatnot, but not sure if that's a bill if you live with your parents. Shop around for car insurance, cut coupons, meal plan using leftovers.

Sell unnecessary things, take clothes that are too small for you or the kids to a thrift or consignment shop that gives money.

It's all the little things that add up. Throw all of your spare change in a jar. You'll be surprised how much accumulates in a few weeks or months.

Once you know exactly what you're spending make a budget and stick to it.

Good luck!
by Ashley on Dec. 26, 2013 at 5:29 PM

First off, make a budget and track where its going if you don't know. Can you direct deposit money into several accounts? If you can, add up how much you expect all your bills to be every month. Divide that by 4. Take that number and make that second account your first deposit putting the remainder in your account, or vise versa. Make one accout just to pay bills and you can even set up automatic withdrawl in most cases with your bills so that you at least have those covered every month no matter what.

For savings, you can also split out a portion of your check to go straight into your savings account so you never see it.

by Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM
Daily budget.

Or just don't spend any money until all the bills are paid
by Platinum Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 7:26 PM

The first thing you need to do is track your spending so you can see exactly where your money is going. Then you need to make a budget and include things like savings, bills, necessities, extras, etc. And when the budget is gone for each thing then the moneys gone until you get paid again.

by Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:09 PM
Save first! Figure out a reasonable amount that you can manage. Put it in your savings account on payday. No matter what. The longer you wait to save it, the greater the chance you'll spend some. Save it on payday, then act as if it doesn't exist.
by Silver Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Like the other ladies said, a budget.  We use a simple Excel spread sheet-double entry style.  Deposits go in one column, expenses (including bills, random expenses, eating out, etc, any money that goes out is in the expense column).  We know what we are spending, how much we have, how much we need, etc.  It allows us to track current spending and plan ahead-add a savings column and start moving a set amount from each paycheck to that column.  DH uses that to know our "actual" available funds, since some transactions take longer to post than others, it was deducted from our budget as soon as the payment was made so no chance of it being spent; we check the bank account to make sure things have posted and all numbers line up, but we don't rely on the bank statement.

by Group Admin on Dec. 27, 2013 at 9:17 AM

I'm probably echoing the others, but this is what we did years ago when we were bleeding money and weren't sure where.

  1. Make a budget for the "fixed" expenses - "fixed" meaning things whose monthly amount never changes, so you always know what you owe (rent, phone, utilities, min, payment on a credit card, etc.)
  2. Look at what you have left over and put a percentage (5%, 10%, etc.) straight into a separate savings account.
  3. With whatever is left, budget the "non-fixed" bills (groceries, gas, etc.)

We found that we were spending close to $2000/month on GROCERIES.  Yeah.  DH and I were just not communicating on that and we were both always stopping just to "pick up a few things" and then BOOM $$ was gone.

So, we realized that we really only had enough $$ at the time to afford $800/month in groceries.  We created a separate checking account JUST for groceries & gas (we call it the GaG account) and put the $800 we budget for groceries and the $350 we budget for gas (DH drives a long way for work and burns through gas) in there.  Once it's gone - it's gone.  No overdraft protection or anything.

It REALLY helped us.  Once we realized the problem we shopped smarter, communicated better, I started making my own homemade cleaners (as cleaning supplies & toiletries are included in the grocery budget) which has saved a TON of $$, and our savings started going up.  We also cut out home phone, Cable TV, etc. which also dropped our required monthly expenses allowing for greater savings.

Now, we could afford more in groceries per month (it's years later now) but we don't.  We stick with the same amount and that just means our savings is even better.

One great program that shows you at a glance EXACTLY where your money is going, is  You link it to all of your accounts (yes, it's secure) and it updates regularly and you can create budgets, set savings goals, and see an updated pie chart of where your money is going.  I LOVE it.

Good luck!

by Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:03 AM

The first thing I do with my paycheck is basic breakdown of what standard bills I have (insurance, water, eletric, car, etc) and when they are due.   I then figure out which paycheck they should fall under.  I take the rest and determine what I can use for living, saving and other debts.

It is a very basic way to start budgeting.

Once I am a few weeks or months into my budget, I can evaluate where cuts can be made, if necessary.

The other thing I do: I set up payment plans for electric and gas.  After a year or 2 at a location, most utilities will allow you to do a budget payment plan.  So your payments are the same every month (with a yearly adjustment.)  This has helped my budgeting tremendously.

by Platinum Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:06 AM
Above posts have touched on the basics, but also Depending on which financial "expert" you listen to, depending on your debt, you should not focus on saving, but getting out of debt!!
by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:09 AM
I sat down and wrote down all of our monthly bills and all of our income. I wrote the dates of each and decided which check each bill would be paid with and I have it scheduled in my planner so I don't have to pay late fees. After I calculated how much was left after our regular bills I decided how much I wanted to take out of each check to have automatically put into a savings account. It's great. I never see it so I don't want to spend it! If it was left up to me to transfer it, it would most likely never happen.
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