Does it feel like most months you’ve got more money leaving the house than coming in? Does it feel like no matter how hard you work and try, you just can’t seem to get ahead of the bills and expenses? If so, you aren’t alone as there are plenty of households feeling a money pinch.
In fact, a report produced just last year showed that 31% of households have trouble paying their energy bill, and that’s just one household bill, never mind the rest. A completely different study also showed that at least 40% of Americans have trouble paying for at least one basic need – which could be such things as rent, or food.
If this sounds like the types of problems your household is experiencing, and the bills are piling up faster than you can pay for them, it’s time to make some changes. Money stress is something that affects you both mentally and physically, and can make for very uncomfortable times. Here, we’ll take a look at some changes you can make in your life that can help make those bills a bit more affordable, and hopefully take some of that stress and worry off your shoulders.
Downsizing Can Make Sense
This solution isn’t going to work for every family, but if you are able to downsize and move to a smaller, more affordable house, the effects can be massive. Just think how much money you could free up with a smaller mortgage or rent payment, and smaller utility bills.
Sometimes downsizing means that kids will need to double up and share a room, you may not have as much living space, you may a smaller yard, etc., but that doesn’t have to affect the family in a negative way. Instead, make it clear that downsizing is something that will benefit the whole family in the end.
Get Rid of that Expensive Car Payment
Car payments are another big expense that many families have. And it’s not just the car payment, it’s also the car insurance, fuel costs, and the maintenance and repair fees. While it may not be realistic to get rid of your car and use public transportation instead, you can consider trading in your vehicle for something more affordable and more fuel efficient.
Some models are also known to be cheaper where insurance rates are concerned. You can always speak to your car insurance agent in advance and get some advice on which makes and models typically have the lowest rates.
No Need for a Home Phone Nowadays
Where it used to be that every household had a home phone, in today’s digital age there is really no need for a landline. This is just an added expensive that likely isn’t necessary. Instead, you can speak to your mobile provider and work with them to find the plan that best matches your needs and budget.
Look Into Streaming Services Rather than Cable
Another option, and something that a lot of households across the country are doing, is cutting ties with expensive cable companies and going down the route of streaming services instead. These services can cost a fraction of cable, and yet you’re still provided with all kinds of great content.
Now, keep in mind that if you do plan on using a streaming service as your entertainment provider, you need to be sure you have a good Internet plan that ideally allows for unlimited streaming. You don’t want to risk going over your allotted amount as the fees tend to be very high.
Finding Relief for Unexpected Expenses
Even with the most careful planning and budgeting, unexpected expenses are still going to pop up. When you are living check to check, these unexpected bills can be devastating as you are left wondering where you’ll find the cash to pay them. Before you get too wrapped up in the financial stress of the situation, you may want to check out this helpful article from Bonsai Finance.
Bonsai Finance outlines the various ways in which you can access money quickly, which is ideal for those unexpected events. They suggest looking into a personal loan from a non-traditional lender so that no credit check is necessary. This will drastically speed up the approval process. In fact, Bonsai Finance can work with you to help you find the best option, which includes finding an application that won’t hurt your credit rating.
Time to Get Cutthroat with the Groceries
You can’t just cut out the groceries – everyone needs to eat – but it can be an interesting experiment to take a look at how much waste your household is producing on a weekly basis. How much food are you throwing out because it went bad before you could eat it? You can look at wasted food as money you are literally throwing in the trash bin. It’s actually amazing how much households can save on their grocery bill by purchasing only what they need and will eat in a given time period.
The best way to go about saving money on your groceries is to get yourself organized. Create a meal plan for the week, which includes every meal, snacks, packed lunches, etc. Once you have your meals all laid out, you can then check the cupboards, fridge, and freezer to see what you are missing. These missing items should then be the only items that go on your grocery list that week. While at the store, it’s important to stick to the list, and not stray from it.
By using this approach you’ll find that the amount of waste your household is generating will be next to nothing, and the grocery bill will decrease.
A few other tips include buying fruit and vegetables that are in season, doing all the chopping yourself rather than buying pre-chopped, buying less expensive cuts of meats, making stews and soups which are filling but cost-effective, and watching for sales and coupons.
Taking Control of Your Household Expenses
Each of these tips can help you take control of your household expenses and thereby lower the bills and the amount of money you are shelling out each month.