The first thing you should be on top of is your minimum payments. You need to make sure you are making at least your minimum on time all the time. You have to make those payments to make sure your credit stays top notch. What if you are struggling to make those payments and you are afraid you will miss one? Let your creditor know right away if there is a chance you could miss your payment. They will be more willing to work with you if you are upfront rather than them having to track you down.
- Negotiate your bills. I have done this a few times with DirecTV (I like NFL Sunday Ticket), and they were more than happy to keep me as a customer the first three times I asked why my bill kept going up. The last time I asked they were not super helpful, so I canceled and went with the premium version of HULU. I saved about $100 a month and didn’t lose any of my premium channels. Is there something like this in your life that you can negotiate or save money with? Go for it.
- Cancel the unnecessary bills. This is probably the wrong time of year to ask if you are really using your gym membership? But if you are not, cancel it. What about music streaming services? Do you pay for more than one? Choose one and cancel the other.
- Pack a lunch. It is incredible how quickly eating out can add up. If you plan ahead, meal prep, and buy things when they are on sale, you can save a ton of money each month.
- Garage sale time! Have you been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo? Yep, you probably have a big pile of stuff to donate. Why not sell it instead? Have a garage sale or yard sale. I have had garage sales in the past and made a few extra bucks. It's a lot of work, but worth it for the payoff.
- Give yourself an adult allowance and stick to it. Basically an adult allowance is your budget, but more in-depth, your entertainment spending. You need to give yourself a cap on the unnecessary items like entertainment and other fun things. Don’t give it all up, you will regret it later but give yourself a budget and don’t break it.
- Plan ahead. Have a trip coming up? Or how about something smaller like your vehicle registration? Those can be large dollar items that can wipe out a monthly budget. Why not plan and save a little each month towards the expense? It will keep your budget happy and you happy as well.
- Stay organized and use budgeting tools. There are so many options out there to do the work for you when it comes to budgeting. Find the right one for your lifestyle and run with it. Let the app, spreadsheet, or online platform keep you organized and take the guesswork out of it.
- Use automated bill pay. Another way to keep you on track and keep you organized is to use bill pay. Set up your payments to have them taken out automatically when you get paid. This way you are never behind and always on top of your bill game.
You don’t have to feel like you are on a never-ending wheel of bills and other unavoidable expenses. If you make and stick to a budget and do your due diligence before bill time rolls around, you’ll be amazed at how on top of your expenses you feel. Do you have other tricks you use to make and stick to a budget? We’d love to hear them! And in the meantime, happy budgeting.
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