Whether you make $20,000 or $250,000 a year, poor money management can land you in a very uncomfortable place living paycheck to paycheck. What’s worse is that if something happens that saps the money you need to cover your expenses, like a sudden illness, loss of overtime or even the loss of a job, your world as you know it comes crashing down. Instead of waiting for the inevitable to happen, take steps now to end the delicate cycle and enjoy money in the bank and relaxation.
A Quick Fix While You Recover
If you find yourself in a difficult situation where you or a family member had a sickness or overtime is no longer an option, there are ways to get access to cash to cover you. You can have a garage sale and sell off items in good condition that you no longer need or take out a loan from the bank. If neither of these options works for you, you could ask a family member for a short-term loan or contact an online company with Payday loan alternative options to put the money in your pocket quickly.
In order to avoid this same scenario from playing out again in the not-to-distant future, you need to create a household budget. It’s relatively easy to do. You can either do it the old-fashioned way with paper and pen or go online and select a free downloadable Budgeting App. Make a list of every creditor you owe money to and the required monthly payment. Then, include things like your rent, electric, gas, water, cable and cell phone bills. Lastly, you need to add daily expenses such as gas, eating out, coffee, dry cleaning, food shopping, a gym membership, and cleaning products. Once you have the list complete you’ll be able to see what amount you have left over and where you spend your money. For many people, this can be a real revelation.
Cutting Back on Non-Essentials
Now that you have your trusty list by your side you can make changes that will free up your cash, putting more of it back into your pockets. A good place to start is with purchases you don’t need to make. If you eat out a few times during each week, reduce it to once or better yet once every two weeks. Depending on the size of your family this can add up to huge savings and you’re just getting started. Instead of spending 3 to 4 dollars each morning on your hot latte, make it at home. Lunchtime at work is another budget consumer and most times it’s also not healthy. Try bringing your lunch from home and pack it up before heading to bed so it’s ready and waiting in the morning.
Saving on Your Utilities
Running a household does not have to consume a large portion of your monthly budget. In fact, with advancements in technology, there are many things that can reduce your monthly bills. You can replace the old thermostat with a new programmable one or purchase an energy-efficient shower head that turns off while you wash up. You can also switch the washer over to cold. With the new and improved detergents, there is no longer the need to waste energy and money by using hot water. Lower your heat and raise the air conditioning while you sleep and only run full dishwasher cycles.
Many companies offer discounts for loyalty. For example, if you bundle your homeowner’s insurance and your car insurance together you can save 10, 15, or even 20 percent. The same goes for your cable and the internet you can save on the initial installation, as well as each month.
Gas & Electric
If you feel that your gas and electric bills are higher than they should be, why not shop around. The recently mandated deregulation of utilities is a big win for consumers. Now you can contact other service providers and get their rates. If they are lower than the company you currently have, make the switch.
Living paycheck to paycheck keeps you in a constant state of frailty. One bump in the road is all it takes to send you into financial ruin. Instead, take the necessary steps now to change your current status and start enjoying the benefits.