Sense & Centsibility Blog

Five Tips to Avoid Being Broke Right After Payday

Empty walletI was thinking the other day about how many times I've heard someone say "Ugh I just got paid and I'm already broke". Another one is "I'd love to go have dinner tonight, but I can't afford it." It's one thing to not be able to afford concert tickets or a trip. But when you can't afford a $20 dinner and you're broke right after payday, you need a financial make over. Here are tips to break this vicious cycle.

Makes lists, stick to them, and don't wander

This may be easier said then done, but I can't tell you how many times it's helped me at Target or the mall. Many people go into the store and walk around almost the entire thing. Not me. Full disclosure, it helps that I love shopping, but hate spending a lot of time doing it. So I am not a wanderer. I make my list and because I know where the items I need are kept, I skip the rest of the aisles and go straight to what I need.

Shop online

This may sound like a strange tip, but if you are an over-spender when you shop in person, try shopping online instead. You can find almost anything you need - even toilet paper! :) However, just beware that you may spend more on certain items and try to avoid high shipping costs. I use Amazon Prime so I never have to pay for shipping and I get everything I need in just a couple days. I'm not trying to plug Amazon, but it is really handy for me and I get my money's worth in probably a couple months. Plus, it makes me spend even less time shopping in person and helps me avoid things not on my list that if I saw them I'd "need." And if you are buying several/many necessities, it may be better to buy them all at once online. Some sites offer free shipping when you spend a certain amount of money. Note: just be cautious of buying something just to get free shipping...make sure it's worth it and that you need it.

Make big purchases at the end of the pay period

This may not happen all the time; however, sometimes you need to buy a larger item or service that's not in your budget. Instead of spending money on it the day you get paid, wait until the end of your pay period - right before next payday. That way, you'll either save money for what you want to buy or you won't have enough and you wait until next month.

Don't spend money just because it's payday

I have been guilty of this more times than I can count. "I just got paid!" That means I can spend more than would have yesterday. Have you ever eaten dinner out just because it's payday? Me, too. This is probably the hardest habit to break, but I also think it will be the most helpful way to avoid being broke. It's kind of like when you get a raise you're supposed to pretend you never got it. Try to avoid falling into the spending just to spend trap and continue with your week business as usual.

Plan, plan, plan

Okay, I take it back. This one is probably the hardest one to do if you're not already good at planning ahead. This is really broad, but think about what you can plan ahead for so that you don't spend extra money.

  • Get groceries and meal plan so you're not dining out or buying coffee on the run as much.
  • Emergency fundSet money aside in savings whenever you can in case of emergency (car repair, emergency vet bill, leaky roof, etc).
  • Give yourself an allowance for planned events like nights out with friends and once it's gone, don't spend anymore. That way, you might avoid those extra unnecessary purchases Monday-Thursday because you know you're going out on Friday.
  • If you know you have to run a bunch of errands, make a plan. Try to get all errands covered in one trip to save money on gas.

There are many more ways to avoid feeling broke right after payday. Think about what else you might be able to change to avoid that feeling. For example, if you have a bad financial habit you might need to break, read our blog post, "What Is Your Bad Habit Costing You." 

If credit cards are causing you to feel broke and it's stressing you out, LSS can get you set up on a plan to pay them off faster and save money. Call us at 888.577.2227 for a free financial counseling session from a trusted, local nonprofit. Or, GET STARTED ONLINE right now. Take back control of your finances and conquer your debt.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.