75% of Hourly Workers Have Struggled to Pay the Bills This Year. How Can They Get Out of the Grind?


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77% of hourly workers say the stress of managing their finances is negatively impacting their health.


Key points

  • 75% of hourly workers are struggling to pay bills this year amid increased living costs.
  • Hourly workers may be able to get out of their current financial rut by getting a side hustle, learning new skills to qualify for a promotion or new job, or utilizing community resources.

We’ve all noticed the ever-increasing gas and grocery prices. But increasing living costs impact some Americans more than others. Hourly workers struggle to pay their bills as living costs continue rising. Are you an hourly worker finding it challenging to pay your living expenses? Find out what you can do to get out of the grind.

Paying higher costs for everyday living expenses has become the norm in 2022. But higher prices can be a challenge for workers with limited incomes. Many hourly workers received no increase in pay over the last year. When wages stay the same, higher living costs hit harder.

A recent survey commissioned by DailyPay and Funding Our Future found that 75% of hourly workers struggled to pay expenses this year. Many workers are putting more of their income towards transit costs — leaving little left over.

Groceries, gas, utilities, and rent or mortgage payments were the expenses hourly workers struggled to pay the most.

Savings goals take a back seat

When life costs more, it’s harder for workers to put money toward savings accounts.

According to the survey, 40% of hourly workers with a household income of less than $100,000 are saving less than last year — or aren’t saving at all. Women are impacted more than men. 39% of women are saving less than last year, compared to 28% of men.

Hourly workers are stressed about money

As you might imagine, workers are stressed. The same study found that 77% of hourly workers said the stress from managing their finances has negatively impacted their health and well-being.

You’re not alone if you’re struggling to pay for higher living costs. But you may be able to make changes that could help you feel more control over your finances despite increasing costs.

Five ways to improve your financial situation

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can feel impossible to find extra room in your budget to cover the cost of increasing bills. But there may be some changes you can make now to improve your financial situation in the long run.

The following suggestions may help you better deal with rising living costs:

1. Learn a new skill. If you feel stuck in your job, remember that your current situation isn’t forever. Now is an excellent time to learn additional skills to help you better market yourself for a new higher-paying job or qualify for a promotion. You don’t have to go back to school to boost your skills. Look for free online courses and community-run programs.

2. Get a side hustle. If you have extra time to commit to another gig, you may want to get a side hustle. Many side hustle opportunities are flexible and can be done in the evenings, on weekends, and even from home. A side hustle could boost your income so you can more comfortably deal with higher living costs.

3. Consider alternate transit options. If you’ve been driving to and from work daily, you’re likely feeling pain at the gas pump. Check to see if alternate transit options could help you save money. Carpooling with a coworker or using public transportation could help you free up extra money each month. Over time, those savings add up.

4. Apply for other jobs. If you haven’t received a pay raise in a long time, it may be time to explore other opportunities. If the thought of sending out job applications feels overwhelming, start by committing an hour or two each week toward applying for jobs. A new job that pays more may help you improve your financial situation.

5. Don’t be afraid to accept help. You may qualify for assistance programs that could help you pay for food, utilities, and other living expenses. Check if you are eligible for local assistance programs through your country or state government. If not, food pantries, places of worship, and community centers in your area may be able to provide assistance or guidance.

Small changes in your daily life could help you get out of the grind of living paycheck to paycheck. If you want to learn more ways to improve your finances, check out these personal finance resources.

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