The way you view your finances could be the reason you never seem to get ahead.

Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck and spending half the month charging purchases and payments to your credit card because you ran out of money? If so, you’ve got plenty of equally frustrated company when it comes to struggling to pay monthly bills or having money left over after all expenses are paid.

Three in five U.S. consumers say they live paycheck to paycheck, and one in five struggles to pay their bills,, according to “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-To-Paycheck Report,” a report based on findings from a survey of nearly 3,500 Americans conducted by LendingClub Bank.

It’s not just people scraping by on low salaries who struggle to pay bills, either.

“In August 2022, 45 percent of those earning more than $100,000 per year were living paycheck to paycheck, a seven percentage-point increase from 38 percent in September 2021,” according to the LendingClub report. “62 percent of consumers annually earning between $50,000 and $100,000 were living paycheck to paycheck, up from 57 percent in September 2021.”

If you’re broke all the time, you may need to adjust your money mindset to improve your financial situation. Here are four money outlooks that hold you back from more financial freedom and ways to turn your money mindset around to free up more money each month.

1. Budgeting is too difficult

Creating a budget may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Putting your monthly income and all of your expenses on paper or a budgeting app is the best way to get a clear picture of where all your money is going and expenses that you may be able to cut.

You’ll find many budget spreadsheets, complete with instructions and advice, online. Or you may prefer a budgeting app such as Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget). These apps also help track your spending and offer tips on saving money.

Find out: How to Build a Budget That Works for You and Your Lifestyle

2. Small fees are no big deal

If you regularly hit up ATMs for cash withdrawals from your bank account — or even worse, cash advances on your credit card — you’re racking up fees ranging from a few dollars for a cash withdrawal to much more for credit card cash advances when you add in cash advance fees and interest.

When you pay a few bills late, you’ll incur late fees, which can range from $25 to $40, depending on the type of account. Before you know it, you may rack up $100 or more each month in fees alone.

To eliminate unnecessary fees, use only your bank’s ATM for cash withdrawals, stop taking out cash advances on your credit card and budget accordingly so you can always pay bills on time.

Find out: The Biggest Credit Card Fees and How to Avoid Them

3. I’m too broke to start an emergency savings fund

If you’re broke all the time, setting money aside for emergencies may seem impossible. But consider this: If you have emergency savings, you could pay unexpected expenses from that account rather than charging them to credit cards or taking the money out of your already-strained paycheck.

So, give some thought to ways you can scrounge up at least $100 to $200, or even $50 to open an emergency savings account and then budget in a monthly amount for emergency savings.

Can you sell items you no longer use on Facebook Marketplace or another online marketplace? Maybe you could take on a side hustle for a month or two and put all your earnings into your emergency fund.

Find out: 4 Ways to Build Your Emergency Savings Fast

4. I have too much debt to pay it all off

When you owe tens of thousands of dollars — or even more than $100,000 in credit card debt and/or loans, the thought of paying off all that debt may seem impossible. But remember, people in even worse shape have paid off even more than you owe.

To get inspired, listen to podcasts or radio shows that are focused on paying off debt and staying out of debt. Then meet with a credit counselor at a nonprofit credit counseling agency to come up with a solid debt repayment plan that you can stick to.

Before you know it, you’ll make progress on paying off all your debts and will learn better money management skills so you don’t wind up with a bunch of debt again.

Find out: 6 Steps to Get Out of Debt (and Stay That Way)

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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