The 31-Day Money Challenge - Day 5

Day #5: How do you save money when you live paycheck to paycheck?

This is a very important question. Because many people today - 49% percent - are living paycheck to paycheck.

While you might hear that the economy is 'booming' and assume you're the exception and not the rule, it's simply not the case for most Americans. Half of us are really struggling eight years after the Great Recession.

Here are some ways you can make an immediate change in your financial life. They may seem small but these items add up quickly. If you look at them differently - as burdens on your financial freedom rather than a path towards wealth - you may find you don't miss them at all.

5 easy things you can give up right now:

1. Expensive coffees. Just don't do it. No more triple vent iced no-whop mochas. No more. Brew coffee at home. It's not only much, much cheaper, it's healthier for you, too.

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2. Impulse buys. You're at the grocery store checkout and suddenly: 'Ooooh! That candy bar or soda looks yummy, or that looks like a magazine I should read.' Nope. They know you're weak at this moment. Don't succumb. The $5 you don't spend is $5 you've saved.

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3. Buying lunch every day. It seems innocent enough, right? You go out with coworkers. You socialize. It's only a few bucks. Wrong. It's a massive waste of money. It seems like nothing but it's a lot. Invest in some reusable containers, make your lunch at home the night before and bring it to work. Your wallet (and your waistline!) will thank you.

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4. Bottled water. Again, this is just a massive waste of money over time. It is also bad for the environment. Adding more plastic to landfills and the oceans is not a good idea. Buy reusable water bottles and fill up every day. Your work probably has fresh, filtered water for you to drink. Take advantage of it. It's FREE.

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5. Use cash only. Ditch your credit cards. If you can't afford to pay cash, you can't afford it. Period. When you get used to this strategy, you won't be tempted to just put it on the credit card and pay it later.

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