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If you’re lifting up your couch cushions hoping for loose change (or $40,000), checking every pant pocket in your closet (twice) hoping to find a $5 bill, wondering how everyone else who lives the same way manages to do it, odds are, they’re doing it about as well as you.

New research from CareerBuilder shows that of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 67 percent say they couldn’t make ends meet, and 49 percent say they had to work more than one job to make ends meet.

The good news? Since last year, 13 states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. — have raised their minimum wage. As of January 1, those states plus Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon and Washington have a minimum wage above $7.25. And employers agree with this trend: According the CareerBuilder survey, 64 percent of employers think the minimum wage should be increased in their state, up from 62 percent last year.

These increases in minimum wage come at a time when nearly 1 in 5 workers (19 percent) of all salary levels say they weren’t able to make ends meet last year. If you are struggling to save money and think that a larger paycheck is the key to solving your problems, you might be wrong. No matter how much you make or how carefully you budget, chances are your income simply doesn’t stretch far enough. Consider that 65 percent of all workers say they’re in debt.

Here are four tips to break that cycle and start putting money away for your financial goals.

1. Know your worth: You can’t create a realistic budget unless you know exactly how much you’re bringing in and spending each month. Create a cash flow statement, which will demonstrate where income is going, by looking at your bank records for the past three months.

2. Pretend you need less money than you do: While it may be easier said than done, committing to live on less than you earn or think you need to earn is the first step toward breaking the hand-to-mouth cycle.

3. Trim the fat: Set aside some time to look at your budget. See if there are any services you’re paying for that you no longer use, such as your gym membership.Is your car lease or loan a monthly cash-guzzler? Consider trading in your new ride for something a little more modest, which will cost less to purchase and likely be cheaper to insure. Maybe it’s time to call your cable company and ask about cheaper subscription rates.

4. Pay yourself first: The problem is likely that by the time you’ve paid for everything else — rent, groceries, utilities — you often don’t have enough left to add to savings, so put savings first. Before you pay your bills, before you buy groceries, before you do anything else, set aside a portion of your income to save.



Originally posted at http://advice.careerbuilder.com/posts/Pinching-your-pennies-You%E2%80%99re-not-alone

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