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Do you live paycheque to paycheque? Does the idea of somehow having enough money to put towards your financial freedom seem an impossibility?

However, financial education experts insist that no matter your income and place in life, a few small changes to how you live life can make a big difference. It’s never too late to learn and to reverse course. If you’re still not convinced, here are 6 simple ideas to get you started.

1. Pretend you earn less than you do

Give yourself a pay cut. Aim for putting 10% from each paycheque into your savings account. One way to do that is by setting up an automatic monthly direct transfer from your chequing account to your savings.

2. Create a budget

To stop living paycheque to paycheque, you must know where that paycheque is going. Creating a budget is simple with Google Sheets, but there are countless other online tools to help you get started.

3. Build an emergency fund

Once you have your budget in place, review it and break it down into non-discretionary expenses (rent, groceries, utilities, etc.) and discretionary expenses (eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.). See where you could cut down on discretionary spending and put that money towards your emergency fund. Starting with just a little amount is great, if that’s all you can do, and it helps you build the habit.

4. Downsize

It may be time to consider a lifestyle change. Maybe move to a smaller place or replace going to that expensive gym with a trip to the local park. Do you really need that brand new car if a used one would work just as well?

5. Pay down debt

If you have a lot of credit card or unsecured debt, try paying the minimum on all but one of them and aggressively pay down that one card. Once it’s paid off, attack the next one. If you’re so deep in debt that you can’t fight your way out, consult with a company specializing in debt consolidation. They’ll help you negotiate your debt into smaller amounts that you can begin to pay off.

6. Remember your future

Build up to putting at least 3% of your paycheque into a retirement fund. Or when you get your first raise, instead of thinking of it as extra spending money, keep your lifestyle the same, and put the difference into a fund and forget about it. Your future self will be glad it’s there.

What tips have your found useful as you’ve paid down debt and save money? Let us know in the comments below.

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