10 Warning Signs You Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Want to know if you are living paycheck to paycheck? Well, there are lots of warning signs!

If you’re struggling financially, it’s possible you are ignoring all the signs you are living paycheck to paycheck.

Unfortunately, this is quite common with people who live above their means since they’d rather live in denial than address their financial problems.

However, this is a bad idea because when you ignore your financial situation, things only get worse and end up taking longer to fix. That’s why it’s always better to work on your financial issues as soon as they arise.

Some people have no idea they are living paycheck to paycheck because everyone they know lives the same way. But that doesn’t mean it is the right way to live.

So is Living Paycheck to Paycheck Normal?

The answer is no. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t normal because money is supposed to be managed first before it’s spent.

When you spend money first without managing it, you end up living beyond your means because you have no control over your finances.

Another reason why living paycheck to paycheck isn’t normal is because it causes a lot of financial stress which isn’t good for you.

So if you have bought into the lie that it’s normal to live above your means or to spend money recklessly, it’s time to accept that you were wrong.

Ain’t nothing normal about being financially strressed or not having enough savings or peace of mind!

So if living paycheck to paycheck isn’t normal, why do people live that way?

Let me give you a few reasons why.

Related: 5 Traits of People Who Solve Their Financial Problems

Why Do People Live Paycheck to Paycheck?

There are a few reasons why people live paycheck to paycheck. Some of the most common reasons are:

1. They don’t know any better

Lots of people are not financially literate. They were never taught how to manage money.

When these people became adults and started earning a paycheck, they had no idea how to control their finances. Instead, they let their finances control them and made some bad financial decisions.

2. They lack discipline

Some people live beyond their means because they lack disciplne.

They know a lot about personal finance and money management, but they lack the discipline to practice what they know.

These people are mostly controlled by their emotions and feelings.

While they know better, they just can’t stick to a plan or develop good financial habits.

Unfortunately, you can’t get ahead financially if you lack discipline. This is one of the reasons some people can never turn their financial life around.

3. They are influenced by others

Another reason why people live paycheck to paycheck is because they are influenced by others.

They want to feel accepted so they make stupid financial decisions they have no business making.

It’s not smart to try to keep up with the Joneses or live beyond your means to please others or feel accepted.

At the end of the day, you’re only going to hurt yourself financially, and you have to dig yourself out of the hole you created.

That’s why it’s always better to live within your means or below your means if possible.

What is it Like to Live Paycheck to Paycheck?

Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t fun. I have been there and it’s very stressful.

It’s not fun hiding from your creditors or worrying about money all the time. It takes a toll on your health and should be avoided at all cost.

Life is easier and more fun when you live within your means and learn to be content.

Now let me show you how to know if you’re living beyond your means.




Do you pay your bills on time or are you often late paying your bills?

Do you constantly wait until the final due date to pay your bills? If you said yes, then you’re definitely living paycheck to paycheck and you need to do something about it.

When you lack control of your finances, it’s very difficult to stay on top of your bills or make timely payments.

If you have to wait for next month’s paycheck to pay your bills for the current month, or split your bills because you can’t pay all at the same time, it’s a clear sign that you are not living within your means.

So before you dig yourself into a bigger financial hole, start taking steps to fix your finances and start living below your means.


Take a look back at the last three to six months to see how many late payment fees you made.

If you paid more than one late payment fee, it means you’re on the edge financially and you need to get off the edge before you get into a bigger financial mess.

When you’re constantly pressed for cash, you end up missing payments and incurring extra charges which puts you in a bigger financial mess.

It’s a vicious cycle and a very painful way to live. That’s why you need to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

If you’re constantly calling up different companies to ask them to cancel or reduce extra charges on your bill, it’s a sign you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

I know some of you are okay paying these late penalties because you reckon you have no choice. However, this isn’t a good way to handle your financial situation.

It’s much better to address the real problem, which is bad financial management.

So focus on improving your money management skills instead of accepting you have to keep paying these late payment fees.


First, I know a lot of people have no choice but to work extra hours because that’s the only way they can cover their living expenses.

I am not talking about these people.

I am referring to you if you earn enough money that you don’t need to work overtime, but you do anyway because you’re in a bad financial situation.

If the only way you can cover your monthly expenses is to work overtime every single month (or most months), you’re clearly living beyond means.

It’s okay if you choose to work overtime to reach a savings goal faster or maybe even to pay off debt. But, working overtime just to cover your monthly expenses is a sign that you need to fix your finances and do a better job managing your paycheck.


Credit card is one of the most common debt traps and has ruined a lot of people financially.

Many of you know the dangers of credit card debt but that doesn’t stop you from using your credit card to cover some of your expenses.

If you can’t afford to pay your credit card balance in full every month, your balance is going to keep going up, before you know it, you are going to be living on credit!

If you can’t afford to pay your balance in full, I suggest you stop using your credit card (or cards) and find other ways to cover your expenses.

Yes, you probably have no clue how you’re going to manage that, but if you think hard enough, I guarantee you can come up with one or two other ways to make ends meet.

Because credit cards are so convenient to use, most people turn to them when they are low on cash instead of looking for other alternatives.

The problem is, that money isn’t yours and if you spend it, it’s going to cost you more to repay it.

So think about that the next time you want to use that card to make a purchase or to pay a bill.

If you can’t pay off the balance, then don’t use it.

Here is a helpful post to help you understand how credit card interest work.

Understanding Credit Card Interest


This is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul!

Many of you have perfected this juggling act you no longer miss a beat when you have to do it.

I have been there and know exactly how this feels.

When you can’t pay your credit card bill because you have no money left, it’s easy to pay it off with another card.

You tell yourself you will be ready next month, but when next month rolls around you find yourself in exactly the same situation. You keep doing this until you max out your card, then you move onto the next card (if you still have one you haven’t maxed out yet).

I am sure some of you know what I mean.

If you are currently living like this, you know your finances are completely out of control, and it’s time to do something about it.


If the thought of losing your job causes you a lot of of stress and anxiety because you won’t be able to survive for more than a month, it’s a warning sign that you are not financially healthy.

When you live paycheck to paycheck, you can’t afford to lose your job because you have no savings or anything to fall back on while you look for another job.

There’s only one way to remedy this situation and that’s to get financially healthy.

Stop living paycheck to paychek, start saving money, reduce your expenses and get rid of as much debt as you can.


Do you constantly rely on the overdraft protection plan to cover your checks or other payments?

I used to have overdraft protection plan on my checking account and it got me into a lot of mess. I canceled it and now, I only spend what I have in my account.

Before I canceled the overdraft protection plan, it felt like I called my bank every month to ask them to waive or reduce an overdraft charge or bank fee.

It was terrible!

Once, my account even got suspended because I couldn’t afford to pay the overdraft charges. My account was reinstated only after I paid what I owed. That was a bitter learning experience for me.

Being constantly overdrawn means you end up paying high fees and interests to cover the loan you take from your bank.

And the result is a bigger financial hole that’s going to be harder and longer to dig yourself out of.


One sign you are living paycheck to paycheck is refusing to take your creditors calls because you can’t afford to pay off your debt or even arrange a repayment plan.

The problem is, there’s only so long you can do this before you face the consequences.

Hiding from your creditors isn’t the best way to deal with your financial problems.

So if you have been ignoring their calls or hiding their mails because you can’t deal with them right now, it’s time to stop hiding.

The sooner you start trying to fix your finances, the better off you will be.


People who live paycheck to paycheck tend to use their credit cards to pay for groceries and other items because they can’t pay cash.

Using your credit card to supplement your income is a dangerous practice that should be avoided.

I know there are times when your situation is pretty desperate and you have no other option, but if you do this regularly, it means your are living above your means or not managing your finances well.

Your credit card shouldn’t be used to pay for groceries or other living expenses unless you know you can pay the credit card balance in full.

Since this is unlikely, a better option is to find alternative ways to buy groceries or pay your bills.


While it’s important to watch your spending, it is not a very good sign if you worry a lot about making small purchases.

There was a time when I had a hard time spending $10. I spent days going back and forth because I couldn’t afford to spend on a small purchase.

One day I said to myself, “I shouldn’t have to think so hard or worry so much about making this small purchase!”

It sucks when you are so broke and your finances are out of control.

I am not saying you should spend impulsively or blow your budget, but you should be able to afford little purchases here and there without feeling like your world would crumble.

Wanting a $20 takeout every now and again shouldn’t be too much of a big deal if your finances are in order.

When you live paycheck to paycheck, it feels like you have to consider all the worst case scenarios that could happen if you spend that money!

If you have a hard time making small purchases all the time, it’s time to take a good look at your finances to see what you’re doing wrong and how you can fix.

Final thoughts on 10 warning signs you are living paycheck to paycheck

Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t fun, but sadly many people live this way for one reason or the other.

If you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, you can definitely take some steps to break out of this cycle.

It all depends on how badly you want to change your financial life and whether you have the discipline to follow through.

If you recognized some of these warning signs, it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to do something about it, or keep living the same way.

Hopefully, you’ll choose to stop living beyond your means and revamp your finances.

How many of these signs you are living paycheck to paycheck do you recognize?

Related money management articles:

The Best Spending Tips to Avoid Financial Stress

21 Things You Cad Do Today to Change Your Financial Life

Signs you are living paycheck to paycheck

signs you are living paycheck to paycheck
signs you are living paycheck to paycheck

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