Everyone wants to be able to save enough money for their needs and desires, and most of us have a bucket list of things we would do if we only had the money. Nevertheless, studies show that three-fourths of all Americans are living with no extra money at all for emergencies, let alone for the things they’d like to do.

Americans struggle with paying off debt and saving money. However, it is possible to tackle your debt, even if you make a small income. Here are some practical tips for how to stretch your income to make better use of the money coming in.

Record Your Monthly Income And Expenses

It’s important to know exactly how much debt you have. Once you write it down on paper, the amount may surprise you. Write a list of sources of income that you have and how you normally spend it over a month’s time. List all of your monthly bills, and ballpark the amount you spend in an average month on personal extras. Be honest; you are the only one who is going to see this list.

Eliminate Wasteful Spending

These are usually impulse buys or unnecessary personal activities that aren’t real needs. Try to find useful ways of replacing them with things that cost less money, or could even make some extra income.
Examples of this would be to replace a large automobile with a smaller one, replace cable with local television, or replace eating out with making your own meals. You can also find ways to save on current needs. For instance, you can find an insurance agency that will give you discounts for your age or good driving record.

Prepare A Concrete Plan To Pay Off Debt

This can be done in several ways. First, any extra windfalls that come in, such as a tax refund, can be used to pay off debt. Second, you can set a little bit of money aside during payday each week for the express purpose of paying down debt. Third, devise ways of making more income, such as a second job or a side job. Start with the largest source of debt first and work your way down.

Paying off debt takes time, perseverance and focus, but it can be done.