|Harrine Freeman is a personal finance expert and the author of, "How to Get
Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free Using the System I’ve Used
Successfully with Thousands of Clients. She is the CEO of H.E. Freeman
Enterprises, a credit repair and personal finance services company. She is a
member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers, SPAWN, AAUW,
Toastmasters, NAWW and the Women Network. For more information on how to get out
of debt or to buy her book please visit
hefreemanenterprises.com She can be reached via
Over one million Americans file for personal
bankruptcy every year. The average American household has 10 credit cards.
People are living above their means. Americans are drowning in debt and the
problem is getting worse. Many people are foreclosing on their homes and will be
forced to live on the street because they are in so much debt.
Many Americans spend their entire paycheck the
same day or within a week of being paid. Americans want to live the dream of
having a nice house, nice yard, and a nice car. But, the reality is that most Americans
can't afford that dream, yet they are still trying to live it.
If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, here are
5 ways to improve your financial situation.
1. Direct deposit.
If you do not have direct deposit through your job,
enroll immediately. Cashing checks at a check-cashing store costs on average
anywhere from 1 to 5% of the amount of the check. If you do this each payday,
this is money that you are losing. Use direct deposit for free, and save yourself
Go back to school to further your education or take
training classes to expand your skills at your current job. This will put you
in a better position to get a promotion at work or a salary increase. That money
can be used to create a savings account, plan for retirement, pay down debts, and
pay for necessary expenses.
If you are in debt, stop using your credit cards and
pay for everything with cash. If you do not have enough money to pay for
necessary expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, or healthcare, create a budget
for yourself to determine your total monthly expenses and your total monthly
income. Reevaluate your spending habits, reduce your expenses and various plans
or cancel them (cable, phone, cell phone, internet, etc.). Shop at discount
stores, outlets, use coupons, carpool, etc. to find extra money, which can be
used to pay down debt.
You should have savings to cover 3 to 6 months worth
of bills. The interest rate at banks right now is very low. Try opening a high
interest online savings account, at such places as www.emigrantdirect.com or www.ing.com
which earns you, on average, 4 to 5% interest on your money. Then you can develop
long-term savings goals such as planning for retirement, college education,
5. Seek Help.
Don't feel like you are alone. Talk to friends,
relatives, or neighbors who have gone through similar situations. Go to the
library or do research on the internet for various ways to reduce expenses, gain
new skills, and shop on a budget. Some great websites are www.budgetdial.com and
www.stretcher.com. In addition, many grocery stores teach classes on how to
shop on a budget.
Nothing last forever. If you want to stop living
paycheck-to-paycheck, you have to change your mindset, take a leap of faith, and
focus on your financial goals. You can also watch financial shows on television,
or check out books at the library on personal finance, financial empowerment, and
various other topics.