It can be difficult to just pay your bills every month even if you earn enough money to cover your expenses.
The problem is that bills have this nasty tendency to just keep piling up. This leaves many of us close to “cash poor” for a period of time each month.
You can give your bills – and your budget – more room to breathe just by using the following four strategies.
Get different due dates
If you’re like a lot of us the biggest majority of your bills come due around the same day each month. This can take a big chunk out of your bank account so there’s not much money left to get through the rest of the month. The way to fix this is by calling your creditors and utility companies and asking for different due dates. Do this and you can spread out your bills so they will match when it is that you earn money. For example, if you’re paid twice a month you could arrange to have half your bills due in the fifteenth of the month and the rest of them at the end of the month. Or you can have them spaced out weekly – whatever best fits your budgeting.
A second good strategy would be to consolidate your credit card debts and other unsecured debts (personal lines of credit, payday loans, department store cards, etc.) into one new loan with one monthly payment. This should make things much simpler and take much of the hassle out of bill paying.
Another way to achieve this is to transfer all of your high interest credit card debts to a new card with a better interest rate. If you have a decent credit score you might be able to qualify for a 0% balance transfer card so that you’d have anywhere from 6 to 21 months’ interest free and to repay the debt.
If a large part of your debts are not credit card debts and you have a decent credit rating, you should be able to get a debt consolidation loan online or from your bank or savings institution.
If you have private student loans you could pay them off with a debt consolidation loan. If they are federal student loan debts, you should check into a Direct Consolidation Loan. It will have a fixed monthly payment and a fixed interest rate, which will be based on the weighted average of the interest rates you’re consolidating, rounded up to the nearest 1/8 of 1%. It’s likely that this will be less than the average of the interest rates you’re currently paying on your federal student loans.
Get a consistent cash flow
Are you one of those people struggling to pay their bills because your weekly or monthly wages are unpredictable? This is often the case these days as so many people have minimum-wage jobs or are subject to unpredictable work schedules. If you can’t get your employer to provide you with a routine work schedule and a consistent paycheck it’s almost impossible to plan ahead and to know how much you’ll have to cover your bills – or whether you can cover them at all.
You can fix this without having to get a new employer with a new app called Even. It’s described by the New York Times as, “A device that “smooths the irregular, up-and-down incomes of hourly workers into the steady circulation of a substitute wage”. A simpler explanation is that the app will ensure that you always get at least your average pay. This will mean a consistent cash flow, which should make it much easier for you to manage your bills. Even is available for both Android and iOS devices.
Eliminate some of those “extras”
When you review your spending isn’t there some expenses you could eliminate? You’ll probably find things that don’t really add that much value to your life such as that $100 monthly cable bill, that $10 dog toy box of the month, the $40 health club membership you rarely use and so forth. When you add up all of these expenses you’ll probably see they’re taking a big bite out of your budget and causing you to stress out when the time comes to pay for the necessities of life such as your student loans, rent and auto loan payments.
Now, at the beginning of a new year, is the ideal time to review all of your spending and your cash flow and get rid of the expenses you’ve become used to paying but that you really can’t afford.
Do these four things and you should find it much easier to keep your bills current and wouldn’t that feel pretty good?