I recently wrote a blog post sharing how to stop living payday to payday, and in today’s post I’ll explore reasons why you may be trapped in a payday-to-payday cycle. I hope that this post will help you to identify your problem areas with your finances, so that you can take the steps to change it. By the end of this blog you should be able to see how you can indeed break the payday to payday cycle. 

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10 Reasons Why You’re Living Payday To Payday



A 2020 study by Willis Towers Watson study revealed two in five (40%) UK employees live payday to payday and have no savings or emergency fund. 

What’s even more alarming about the study, is the revelation that the percentage of people living payday to payday increases by generation with 20% of Baby Boomers living this way, 38% of Gen X, 47% of Gen Y, and 56% of Gen Z.

It’s important to note that the payday-to-payday cycle isn’t just a problem for low income earners, it affects people across all income categories.

Why do some 6-figure high earners live payday to payday? We often read stories of celebrities who lose their wealth and end up filing for bankruptcy. How is this possible?

It’s possible because it’s not about how much you earn, it’s about how much you keep. You cannot spend your way to financial freedom.

I recently wrote a blog post sharing how to stop living payday to payday, and in today’s post I’ll explore reasons why you may be trapped in a payday-to-payday cycle. I hope that this post will help you to identify your problem areas with your finances, so that you can take the steps to change it.

Also, if you are currently in this position and want help to devise a plan to break the payday-to-payday cycle, please complete this short survey. In exchange for your feedback I will invite 6 women to jump on a free 30 minute coaching call.

1 – You’re Paying The Minimum On Your Debts

I once had a lot of high-interest debt and was making minimum repayments. I did this for a few years before realising that if I continued at this rate of repayment, it would take me nearly a decade to pay it all off. Debt repayments were a big expense for me and this kept me trapped in the payday to payday cycle as a big chunk of my income was going to debt repayments on a monthly basis. 

If you have high interest debt, prioritise paying this off as soon as possible. Your income should fund your future and not pay for your past.

2 – You Fail To Plan For Irregular Expenses

I fell prey to this a couple of months ago. My annual Audible subscription and Google Drive payments came out in one month – I totally forgot the payments were due! This was a £150 expense that arose which I hadn’t planned and budgeted for. 

This was a one off for me, but just imagine these irregular expenses arising month in, month out? You can quickly see how this will eat into your paycheck each month. 

Planning for irregular expenses is a must. Take a birds-eye view of the year ahead and plan for those irregular expenses in the month that they are due. 


3 – You Fail To Plan, Period – i.e. you don’t have a budget

If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I talk a lot about budgeting. It’s important to have a budget and a conscious spending plan for your money. Tell your money where to go at the start of the month, so that you’re not left at the end of the month wondering where it all went.

The gap between how much you think you spend, and how much you actually spend will shock you if you’re not used to budgeting. 

Before I started budgeting, I thought I only spent £300 each month on groceries, in actual fact, when I did the maths I spent over £500 on groceries. The numbers don’t lie, it’s only when you sit down and create a budget that you actually get to understand where all your money is going, it’s at that point that you can start to break the payday to payday cycle. 

Get started today with my zero-based budget template: 


4 – You Don’t Do Any DIY 

On my YouTube channel I share monthly budget updates. Over the last few months I’ve been complaining about the rise in car wash prices. I said to my subscribers that once the car wash rises to £20 a month, I’m washing (or should I say, my husbands washing) our car at home.

This is just a small savings that we’re now able to make by doing DIY. Another way we save money is by DIY haircuts/ hairstyles. This saves us hundreds each month. 

Now you may not want a DIY haircut and that’s fine, but I challenge you to consider things that you can DIY in order to order free up more of your income to put towards your financial goals. 

5 – You Spend On Impulse

You’ve gone to your local supermarket to buy bread, milk and eggs, and you end up leaving the store with three bags full of shopping. Hands up if you’ve done this before? I know I have, more times than I care to admit.

Impulse shopping is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome when it comes to breaking the payday to payday cycle. One thing that can help you to overcome this is applying the 72-hour rule. 

The 72-hour rule is where you give yourself 72 hours to decide if you really need/want to make a purchase. If after 72 hours you decide you do want to make the purchase, then you can go ahead and make it.

Try this for a week and note every amount you would have spent. The total will shock you. I’ve been doing this for a number of years now, and I’ve saved hundreds, if not thousands of pounds by doing this.

6- You’re Paying For Unused Memberships 

A few months ago, I was hit with a payment for a subscription that I forgot to cancel. This was a costly mistake – over £500 in actual fact! I had signed up for a 3 month free trial and totally forgot to cancel it.

Fortunately I was able to contact the company immediately and receive a refund. I was very lucky, as their terms explicitly state that payments were non-refundable. 

Check your subscriptions, how many of them are you using and getting good value from? It may be worth cancelling the under utilised ones that you can live without. 


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7- You’re Focussed On How To Spend Money Now

Not having financial goals and being short-term focussed, can make it difficult to break the payday-to-payday cycle. When your vision isn’t big enough, it’s much easier to fall for the low hanging fruit. 

If you don’t have any long term goals, this blog post How I Set SMART Goals Against Zig Ziglar’s Wheel Of Life will help you to plan and structure them. 

8 – You Invest In Material Things Instead Of Yourself

This is a hard pill to swallow, but it is the truth. Ask yourself, how much have you invested in your self-development and learning over the last year, versus material goods?

The reality is, once we spend our money on material things, for the most part, the money is lost. However, if we spend money on investing in ourselves, in our education and learning a new skill, we are able to grow our wealth. 

9 – You Keep Up With The Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses will make it impossible to break the payday-to-payday cycle. Being consumed and concerned with what other people are doing and how they are spending their money will lead to overspending.

The reality is, we are all on different journeys, and will take different lengths of time to reach our destination. Spending time focusing on what your neighbours are doing, will only make it take longer for you to reach your destination.

Don’t allow social media, peer pressure, or FOMO to make you spend money that you have no business spending. Instead, commit to your plan and achieve your financial goals – don’t succumb to peer pressure!


10 – Your Income Is Too Low

I know there is a large proportion of people in the UK that are doing everything in their power to break the payday-to-payday cycle, but are unable to do so because they just don’t earn enough money. 

In which case, if you’re in this group, a recent guest post sharing Side Hustle Ideas To Start To Generate Passive Income may provide some inspiration for things you can try in order to increase your income.

If you don’t have time for an additional side hustle, it’s time to increase your day job income. Apply for a promotion, shadow a colleague and learn the skills required to go up the pay scale.


These are just 10 reasons why you may struggle to break the payday to payday cycle. Are there any other’s that I’ve missed off the list? Comment below and share things that have stood in the way of you breaking this cycle. Also share the things you’ve done to break the payday-to-payday cycle.


More Like This: 

If you enjoyed this post, ’10 Reasons Why You’re Living Payday To Payday’, then you will also enjoy my other blog posts on similar topics. Check them out below:

1 – 7  Money Habits That Are Keeping You Broke

2 – How To Stick To Budget – 12 Simple Ways

3 – How To Successfully Live Below Your Means

4 – How To Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have