Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve had to wait until your next paycheck before paying your bills? Are you always running behind on payments and being forced to pay even more in late fees? You may be part of the 78% of U.S. workers that are living paycheck to paycheck.

Living paycheck to paycheck means only having enough money to stretch until you get your next paycheck. Should there be an error in your paycheck, an emergency happens, or you lose your job, it means having no money left to cover your living expenses. It's a cycle that is stressful to deal with and challenging to get out of, however, not impossible.

Here are a few things you can do to start breaking free from the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.

Review Your Current Expenses
Get out a notebook and pen and start writing down how much you are currently paying each month for expenses. By reviewing and checking in with your current bills, you can see exactly how much you're spending and if there are any cheaper alternatives or options for you to pay less. Often times with bills like cable and internet, you may get a promotional rate for starting, but the bill goes up after the first year. Getting a good idea of how much you’re spending can help you formulate a plan for breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Cut Your Spending
If you reviewed your current expenses, you may see where you could start cutting your spending. Cut spending by reducing your utility bill (open windows to cool down and wear more layers to keep warm), get a roommate to lower rent, make your lunch and dinners instead of going out, and don't spend anything unnecessarily and beware of impulse buys. Setting a budget can help you get back on track with your spending.

Pay Bills As Soon As Possible
One of the tricky parts about being in a paycheck to paycheck cycle is not always being able to pay your bills on time. If this sounds like you, you're likely wasting money you don't have by paying late fees. By paying bills as soon as possible, you can avoid paying unnecessarily and start putting that extra money towards your savings.

Take Advantage of Free Checking Accounts with Rewards
If you’re currently paying for your checking account because you don’t meet the requirements for free checking, it’s best to move on to a different bank. Take advantage of Sikorsky Credit Union’s Kasasa Cash or Kasasa Cash Back Free Checking, and you'll not only always have free checking, but you have the opportunity to earn rewards. 

Increase Your Income
If possible, try to increase your income by taking a second job or starting up a side gig. While these options aren't always feasible, if you can increase your revenue, it will help you get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle sooner.

Start Planning Ahead One of the primary ways people get into a rut is because of impulse spending. Planning ahead is extremely important to get out of this cycle. While you may want to buy a new dress or take that last-minute weekend vacation, you’ll be paying more when you don’t look for sales or plan ahead. Additionally, planning ahead can help you avoid paying bills late, help cut your spending if you make lunch each day, and can help you dedicate more time to jobs and activities that can increase your income.

While breaking the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle is easier said than done, taking action is essential to start making a difference.