Living paycheck to paycheck: Tips to stop spending money

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An old wise man once said 'it's all about the Benjamins,' but it doesn't feel like you're bringing home the bacon if your living paycheck to paycheck.

Around 78 percent of full-time workers say they're making ends meet, check to check. I'm here to help stretch your dollar with practical things you can do right now, one cliché at a time, that will have you laughing all the way to the bank.

It's another day another dollar for local resident John Cove who just finished eating breakfast with his grandson. He says money burns a hole in his pocket! "Yep I still spend more than I earn," Cove said.

It's the opposite for resident Octavia Ellerbe who learned early on that money doesn't grow on trees. "I've always taken away from my great-grandmother. She's 97. She's always said 'always prepare for war in a time of peace,'" said Ellerbe.

Even still, Octavia says there are times she falls short. If you can relate, we asked David Conner, who is a financial adviser in Belmont, a penny for his thoughts. He says first, you need to track your spending.

"History has a tendency to repeat itself," Conner said. "So if you can take your checkbook and you can go back over a period of say three months and figure out what your expenses have been in the various categories and try to come up with an average. That's a good way to do it. Then you have a good idea of what your utility bills are, your cell phone bills are, etc."

Then, start breaking those habits that are breaking the bank - like those daily Starbucks runs....

"If you can get a free cup of coffee at work and be content with that, that can make a big difference over time!," says Conner.

Now that you cut back on spending, start socking away money not only for an emergency fund but also for retirement.

"Even if they're 40 or 45 and they think it's too late they look at retirement it's really hard by the yard. But when they break it down to what they can do on a weekly basis, even on a daily basis, it's a cinch by the inch," Conner says.

"If it was easy then everybody would do it – right," Cove said.

Don't be discouraged, even if you're not raking in the dough, a penny saved is a penny earned - so act on it now!

"Again, always prepare for war in a time of peace," says Ellerbe, repeating her great-grandmother's words of wisdom.

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