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Making the Most of a Reduced Paycheck

July 21, 2020 by Hunter Swanson

Times are tough, but so are you. Whether you’re one of the 40 million Americans to file for first-time unemployment benefits or the countless others to see a reduced paycheck, you are not powerless. With the right tools and attitude, you can make the most of a reduced paycheck and thrive.


1. Don’t Procrastinate

Whether you’re expecting to be back to your full salary soon or not, start adjusting now. Cut down on spending, take care of lingering debt, and have a systematic approach to paying bills. Acting now as if this will be a long-term situation will help delay tapping into your financial reserves.


2. Develop a Plan

When we’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and it takes a serious financial hit, it’s time to take a hard look at where the money needs to go. Prioritize expenses now, and identify which bills take precedence. Cut back on the extraneous as best you can. If you need help deciding, you can contact a financial counselor at our financial education partner BALANCE Pro for help.


3. Careful with Credit

When money is tight, credit cards can take on an unusually seductive glow. But like the glow of an anglerfish, it may swallow you up if you’re not careful. If you’re late and fall behind, the interest rates can skyrocket, leaving you in a worse position than when you started. Credit cards are not designed to be emergency savings accounts.


4. The Anxiety is Real

At the risk of stating the obvious, you’re salary is NOT you. Many people’s self-esteem corresponds to how much money they make. Anxiety and depression can set in when how we value ourselves is impacted. Make the effort to dispel the attitude that wealth equals worth. Positivity breeds success.


5. Carpe Diem – Seize the Day

Stay active. Hardship can hone skills and challenge entrenched ideas. Perhaps you have a passion outside your work environment. Consider this your opportunity to discover what you really want out of life. Try putting 40 hours a week into something you love.


If you are currently unemployed or are working fewer hours, use this “extra” time wisely. Your options are as varied and abundant as your desires. Consider taking a class – one that will boost future earning potential or for pure pleasure.

You are not alone in this. Teamwork makes the dream work! Get professional assistance, talk to friends, and find others who are in like circumstances. Vent to those who can empathize; ask for help from those who can assist. By adopting a positive attitude and taking pragmatic steps, you can adapt to a reduced income, and achieve a financially stable future. You can do it!


BALANCE is an amazing resource for all our members to utilize when taking on life's milestones. With trusted guidance available for free, they are ready to help everyone on the path to financial wellness. This article and many more can be found on their website: balancepro.org.

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