Get Ready to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Intro | GB 30: Break the Cycle

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Welcome to the challenge! This 30-day course is all about helping you break the cycle of paycheck to paycheck living. 

When you live paycheck to paycheck, you don’t have a one-month cushion in the bank to cover a full month’s worth of expenses. 

Not having that cushion means your finances are always hanging in the balance, creating a never ending cycle of worry and fear. It means that if your paycheck comes late, you’re at risk of overdrafting your checking account to pay for rent or utilities. It means that if an unexpected bill appears, your normal spending may be thrown off to cover it. It might even mean that some weeks, you can’t buy all the groceries you need.

Living this way is exhausting and it creates unnecessary stress on you. But since you’re here, you probably already know that to be true. You may have even tried breaking the cycle before. But as you may know, once you’re caught in this loop, it’s incredibly hard to get out. And the reality is, some of the reasons you’re stuck in this cycle may be out of your control

But even if the odds are stacked against you, there are ways to get out. And we believe that boosting savings to build a one-month cushion is a great way to do it. 

When you do have a cushion, you can breathe a little easier. You’re able to pay bills without having to time those expenses with your paychecks. You can buy groceries whenever you need to — even before your paycheck arrives! And if you’re already budgeting with Goodbudget, a cushion makes it possible for you to fill your Envelopes to full at the start of the month rather than having to partially fill them multiple times. Dogeman said, 

[Before Goodbudget], we didn’t have a good way to track our spending. There were times we were down to less than $20 in the bank by the time payday came around.

Now, we stay on the same page and can track every dollar. We’ve only used the app for about 4 months and have an excess in the bank at all times. We just saved up our $1000 emergency fund and have been paying down debt. The peace of mind has been tremendous.”

It’s clear that having a cash buffer offers some stability and reassurance. 

That sounds nice, right? 

As you take this course over the next 30 days, you’ll challenge yourself to hustle hard to create a plan to boost your savings, with the goal of building a one-month cushion and breaking the cycle of paycheck to paycheck living. 

What will that actually look like? At the beginning of the course, you’ll consider several options you can use to boost your savings — temporarily increasing income by taking on a side gig, taking on more hours at work, and/or by cutting back on spending — and you’ll set a goal for how much you’d like to have saved up by the end of the course. Next, you’ll learn how to track your savings using the Goodbudget app. Finally, you’ll learn tips and tools to help you maintain that cushion for as long as possible, but also how and when to use it if necessary. 

Ready to get started? 

Starting tomorrow, you’ll receive weekly assignments to help inform and motivate you through the challenge, so be sure to sign up to get the assignments sent straight to your inbox

Until then, check out the assignment below. 

Homework

  1. Leave a comment and let us know what you’re most excited about when it comes to building your cushion and trying to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle. Are you excited about not having to time your bills with your paychecks?

  2. Let us know when you plan to work on your homework over the next 30 days. 

Note for couples: If you’re budgeting with a partner, be sure to include them in this challenge. It will be really hard to build a cushion and break the paycheck to paycheck cycle if you aren’t both on the same page about boosting savings and setting money aside for that new cushion. 

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118 thoughts on “Get Ready to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck”

  1. 1. For me, having a cushion means being able to buy groceries and pay bills any time in the month. It means not worrying about *when* I’ll have enough in the bank to do what I need to do to take care of my family.
    2. The best time for me to do homework is after my kids are in bed and the house is quiet.

    Reply
  2. I need piece of mind. Having a bigger cushion will give me that. A cushion for me would be $2500. A moth of expenses. I plan on earning this this month between InstaCart and overtime. I am ready!

    Reply
  3. I’m ready to break this cycle of being flat broke every pay period. I want to learn how to budget wisely and possibly take on a side job to get there.

    Reply
  4. I’m so ready for this. I was handling my finances really well for a while and then got derailed over the summer. I hate the feeling of having so little liquid funds. I had $43 left in my account before this payday. That’s crazy!!!

    Reply
  5. I would need a cushion of $3500 that is one month of expenses. I plan to start really doing Instacart 3 times a week and cutting down on my spending

    Reply
  6. I am exited to start a cushion savings of 2500 paying bill paycheck to paycheck is hectic and worrisome. So I am exited to start!!

    Reply
  7. I’m excited to feel more responsible with my money and not feel the burden of money or lack of money.
    Best time for me to do homework is after work so I can relax with no pressure

    Reply
  8. 1. I’m excited to not be stressed about my bills and debt. I’m excited to be able to enjoy life and not constantly be worried about money.
    2. I plan to do my homework after work on weekdays and in the afternoon on weekends.

    Reply
  9. There is no question that I must break this decades long cycle. The stress is just too much. I am ready to get down to business and build a cushion.
    The best time for homework is in the morning hours. I am retired.

    Reply
  10. I thought I was getting things on track but then had some health issues so medical bills and dr visit copays have gotten me out of sync again. I have no savings and debt has increased again. I want to get back to feeling like I have control of my finances.

    Reply
  11. Having money to cover unforeseen expenses is very important to me. Anything could happen and being able to take care of the unknown is a big deal.

    I plan to work on it when I’m working at night.

    Reply
  12. I want to get a cushion because we’re tired of having spent Friday’s paycheck almost completely by Tuesday, and having only $20 or so until the next Friday paycheck.
    I also want to be able to teach our 19 year old a better way now that they are working their first job.
    I will be taking on extra hours, and I hope with PoshMark it will be enough to build up that extra savings.

    Reply
  13. It would be great to learn how to REALLY budget in a way that would allow for financial growth. Being able to establish a cushion is my goal for the next 30 days. Every evening would be the best time to address my assigments

    Reply
  14. Looking forward for additional tips on how to enhance my decade-old manual budgeting in Excel. I am most available at night after a day’s work. Thanks.

    Reply
  15. I am excited to get started. I want to have peace of mind and let money stress be a thing of the past. I often felt like my bank stole my money, even though I have utilized the funds myself.

    Reply
  16. #1 I’m excited to be able to sleep better at night without laying there thinking about payday and what I’ll need to do with the money. I’m getting married in March so I’ll be doing this course with my fiance. We are starting to combine finanes.

    #2 we will be doing this course after dinner on our computer

    Reply
  17. I hate to be stressed about money, so I’m excited to try something new to help me save more. I plan to do my homework on weeknights after work and on weekends.

    Reply
  18. Having a cushion mean being secure. I need my security again. And I am sooo looking forward to it.

    Best time for me would either be everyday after work, or Friday evening to finish all, I often work long hrs, so it depends on the week

    Reply
  19. Hey y’all!

    I’m Christina and I am starting a new budget now that my financial situation has changed. I’ve used budgeting software before (YNAB and Quicken), but I wanted something more practical and approachable.

    To answer y’all’s questions for this week’s assignment, I am most excited about learning how to break horrible spending patterns that was passed down from generations.

    Now that I have money, I’d like to learn how to keep, save, and invest properly!

    Lastly, over the next 30 days, I’m looking forward to starting my day with looking at my budget and working on it!

    Good luck to everyone,
    Christina

    Reply
  20. I am ready to build a cushion. It’s by no means security. But it will provide less stress. The cycle of get paid Friday, by groceries, pay bills & by Tuesday most of the paycheck is gone until a week from Friday needs to end!

    Reply
  21. I’m excited to learn how to create and stick with a budget. I’ve always just bought what I wanted, whenever I wanted. I want pay off all debt and have a big enough savings to where I feel comfortable if an emergency happens

    Reply
  22. We have had medical bills that get in the way of paying off debt. And each time we think we are going to get a cushion, some emergency takes it away. I would like to learn how to navigate life’s hurdles and maintain building up funds. That’s what is hard.

    Reply
  23. I’m excited about not having to worry about having money to meet costs as I am the primary budgeter in my family so this way I don’t have unnecessary stress on my mind. This will be a great opportunity to review everything financial.
    I plan to do the homework after dinner during the week and afternoons on the weekends.

    Reply
  24. I’m looking forward to relieving the stress and anxiety that comes with living paycheck to paycheck. Stop this toxic cycle!

    I plan to work on my homework with my spouse early in the morning or in the evening when all has settled down.

    Reply
  25. I want to stop the rollercoaster of my finances. I do good for a few months and then something happens and I’m starting all over again. I’m getting too old to not have a handle on my money. So I look forward to some no nonsense straightforward advice.

    Reply
  26. I’m excited to know there’s a way to break this cycle. I’m excited to release the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. I’m excited to show my husband I too can be business minded.

    I plan to include my husband in my plan and work on it in the evening before bed.

    Reply
  27. I have a cushion already of 400.00 to pay my monthly bills. It is already in my account unallocated. Dec 1st I will receive my 400.00 for Dec. So basically I am understanding that I will keep having 400.00 at all times unallocated so I can order my supplies and pay my expenses before the next month? Please reply ! I am 68 years young and my brain is not equipped for these money matters so I am thrilled about this program to help me understand! I appreciate any Help you can give me. Thanks so much Glenda Cantrell

    Reply
  28. I recently went part time after having my first child and for the first time I’m wanting to budget to create good habits for the future! I plan to work on assignments when the baby is asleep!

    Reply
  29. I’m most excited about actually building the cushion. This is a goal of mine, to stop living paycheck to paycheck. I’ll use my breaks during work to complete my assignments.

    Reply
  30. Years ago I had a great envelope budget but I eventually let it slip aside. Since then I have struggled to get ahead and was living paycheck to paycheck. I’m excited to get back into my envelopes and get my finances in order. I can work on my budget during the day. I’m a caregiver for my grandfather so I have time to sit and work on it.

    Reply
  31. I’m desperate to find a way to stop living less than paycheck to paycheck. I make enough money that I should be able to actually save, but am bogged down in the overdraft fee cycle from hell. The very thought of doing this course gives me hope, but also gives me unbelievable anxiety. I’m going to have to try different times of day to see which works best.

    Reply
  32. What having a cushion means to me- Ro pay all my bills at the first of the month. To be able to handle surprise expenses without stressing.

    Reply
  33. Excited to see if I can change. I actually enjoy the thrill of the cycle of my money – spending big after I get paid, getting super resourceful when the money runs out, and finding ways to juggle commitments and debts and be creative. I don’t know if I honestly want to change so I will see if it sticks at all. I suppose I’m curious to see if I can feel empowered, creative, free and generous whilst at the same time build some savings just for the hell of it.
    I’d be best to do the homework last thing at night or first thing in the morning.

    Reply
  34. I cant wait to pay Bill’s on time. I don’t have much money and when I have extra bills that come up it always puts me behind. Not having to count my checks and ask for extensions. I plan on doing my homework in the evening.

    Reply
  35. As a college student, this is much needed since I live this lifestyle of paycheck to paycheck all the time. Can’t wait to break that cycle! I’ll be doing these assignments on my morning commute to school.

    Reply

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