(WFSB) -- Millions of Americans are struggling to pay their bills, and the pandemic has made money problems even more stressful.

“It’s been a difficult time, and we are entering this new stage. We can’t even say we are out of it,” said Alaya Linton, a money blogger and finance expert with hopeandcents.com.

As the pandemic continues, so does the uncertainty, and stress for so many.

“We know that over half of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, so the first thing to know is you are not alone. Sometimes there is shame involved and that prevents us from moving forward,” Linton said.

She coaches Connecticut families, and teaches them how to find financial freedom.

The first step is getting organized.

“It could mean developing a process for every week; I’m going to sit down, look at the bills, pay those, look at my budget every week. Establish processes and systems,” Linton explained.

She says that will make it easier to track spending, which is the second step.

“Document it and then reflect, in a week I spent ‘X’ amount of dollars at this place. Just observing, going through this process, is going to bring your attention to it,” Linton said. “It makes some light bulbs go off; I didn’t realize I was doing this. And so just observing and tracking can really be helpful.”

The third step would be to start dreaming. It makes it easier to reach your money goals, when you know what they are.

“I tell people to define your savings,” she said. “This is helpful if you haven’t actually thought about ‘ok what are my financial goals, year, three years, five years’,” Linton added.

She created a five-step guide for breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

To check it out, click here.

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