How many times have you paid all your bills for the entire month, and then had no money left over? Everyone has been there or is currently there. That can be one of the worst feelings ever. You go to work every day, you work hard, and for what? To sit at home and not be able to enjoy any benefits of your labor? As sad as it is to say, but this is how a lot of people live.

Did you know that eight out of ten Americans live paycheck to paycheck? Living paycheck to paycheck means that when you get paid, you make just enough money to pay your bills, and get the essentials you need to survive (sometimes), leaving you with little to nothing until your next paycheck. If you’re in that situation, have you ever thought about what exactly is causing your paycheck to paycheck lifestyle? Not that you’ve chosen to live paycheck to paycheck, but can you pinpoint the things in your daily life that is causing your funds to be depleted after paying bills?

There definitely has to be something that is causing the issue. Let’s take a look at some of the common areas in your daily life that could use a budget makeover, and could possibly get you out of your financial slump.

Cook More Meals Instead of Eating Out

There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating out every now and then, but eating out on a regular basis can certainly add up, and can eat away your finances. The amount of money it takes to buy yourself a combo meal at a fast-food chain can be the equivalent price of the ingredients for a spaghetti dinner that you can make at home. The crazy thing about this is that your fast-food meal will only last you for one meal, while your spaghetti meal can last you a few days.

Some people stray away from cooking for the simple fact that they don’t know how to cook, but in this day and age, not knowing how to cook is unacceptable. There are so many resources online and on TV that shows you how to cook, with step-by-step tutorials! Yes, it’s very convenient to grab something to eat on your way home, or on your lunch break, but if you are trying to stretch your money further, then you need to go to your kitchen and get culinary!

Consider Getting a Roommate

Once you move out of your parents’ house and live by yourself, there’s nothing better than the privacy you gain. You get to come home whenever you want, and cater to no one but yourself… but when you’re in a tough bind financially, sometimes you have to put aside your personal desires and do what’s best for you, and sometimes that means doing what you don’t want to do.

You will be able to find many apartments that can be shared with roomates, and you still get to have the privacy you once had, for the most part. Majority of the times, the apartment is set up where each roommate has their own bedroom, and shares the common rooms like the kitchen and living room, and sometimes the bathroom.

Go to Free Events for Entertainment

They say some of the best things in life are free, and sometimes they are! People have it in their minds that in order to have fun, you have to spend money, but that’s not really true, it just depends on what your idea of fun is. Regardless of your idea of fun, when you’re on a budget and tired of living paycheck to paycheck, your idea of fun can change drastically.

One way to find free events in your area is to check out your local visitor information center. They have brochures there and staff that can tell you about all the free local attractions. In most places you can go to the park for free, certain areas have free concerts, and some museums are free. These free events vary depending on your location, but it never hurts to look into it.

Look for Discounts

Whether it be a matinee, happy hour, or coupons, there’s nothing wrong with bargain hunting for food or entertainment. As mentioned earlier, there’s nothing wrong with eating out or paying for entertainment… the key is to not indulge in it on a daily basis, and to not pay an arm and a leg for it!

A lot of restaurants offer happy hours, where their appetizers and drinks are half the price they normally are during certain times of the day. So if you feel like you need to get out and grab a bite, go during happy hours. Also, if there’s a movie you want to see and cannot wait till it comes out on DVD, go during your local theater’s matinee times. This will allow you to watch the movie you’ve been dying to see, plus it’ll keep a few bucks in your pocket!