Disclosure: This post was submitted on behalf of Penny Minding Mom.
You know that feeling. You get paid, and as soon as the money’s in your account, it leaves again.
Having bills to pay is one of the great downsides of adult life. But it is still possible to live well and pay your bills.
Want to save up for a vacation? Are you hoping to get a mortgage for a house? Just want to spend a weekend with your friends, without worrying about cash?
You can. We’re here to tell you exactly how. If you want to live a full life while staying on top of your finances, then read on.
Got Bills to Pay? Set Money Aside in Advance
When you get paid, it’s tempting to see the balance of your checking account as spending money. We all know it’s not that easy.
You probably know roughly how much you’re going to spend on utility bills, rent or mortgage repayments, insurance, etc. Work out the combined cost, then put that money aside.
Don’t dip into it.
Many banking apps let you manage two accounts from one login. Open a second account, and deposit your bill money there. Just transfer it back to your main account when you have bills to pay.
That way, what’s left in your account is spending money. You’ll never be stuck scraping together pennies to pay the bills.
Budget Your Remaining Money
Having a monthly budget is crucial for living within your means. Setting aside money for fuel, food, and other essentials means you’ll always have the essentials covered.
If you’re from an administrative background, you can easily do this in Excel or Google Sheets. If you’d prefer to use specialist budgeting software, there are many options available to you. Some of the best include:
- Personal Capital
It’s not a fun thing to do every month, but it protects you from overspending.
Save For Emergencies
Putting aside a little money each month can really come in handy. Sometimes, despite the best planning, emergencies happen. Maybe you’re injured and have to pay medical bills, your car breaks down and needs to be repaired, or you need urgent home repairs.
If you don’t have the cash to hand, it’s going to impact your life. If you do, it’s irritating, but not life-changing.
You don’t need to save a huge amount of cash for this. Even putting aside $50 a month is great.
The best rule of thumb is to have around six months’ expenses saved up. That way, if something goes wrong, you’re prepared.
Make Small Savings
Saving money doesn’t have to be big. Even saving a couple of dollars a day can help you when you have bills to pay or want to get out of debt.
These small savings can be had everywhere:
- Bring a packed lunch to work
- Make your own coffee and carry it with you in a vacuum flask
- Take public transport or walk, instead of driving
- Go to thrift shops for new clothes, instead of buying online
- Buy store brand goods instead of name brands
When you start looking, you can easily find ways to save cash here and there.
Be Mindful of Subscriptions
Subscriptions seem like small payments, but they soon add up. If you’re spending money on Hulu and Netflix, consider cutting one of them. Do you find that you don’t watch cable TV? Cancel it.
If you love cardio, consider swapping out the gym for the local park.
While internet access is a necessity for most of us, it can, thankfully, be had cheaply. If you have data on your phone contract, try out a pay as you go SIM instead. AT&T, for example, offer prepaid SIM cards that can save you a fortune over a lengthy contract.
Know What You Need, and Stop Trying to Keep Up with Neighbors
It’s hard, but you’re going to need to separate what you want from what you need. We all love gorgeous jewelry, exquisite food, and fancy cocktails. But we don’t need them.
What you need is a roof over your head, food in your belly, and clothes on your body. If you’ve got these needs fulfilled, you’re doing okay.
The biggest mental shift that many people need to make is to stop competing with friends and neighbors. Just because your friend Jess has got a new TV doesn’t mean that you need one.
We don’t really discuss finances with friends, and for all you know, that could be putting her into debt. Just as you do now, she’ll need to get out of debt.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself occasionally, but keep it small. Maybe a Starbucks coffee, a scented soap, or a magazine.
How to Get Out of Debt with No Money
If you’re well and truly stuck, with no income and worrying debt, don’t despair. Getting out of debt is possible.
There are a lot of bodies out there dedicated to helping people in debt. If you’re struggling with mortgage debt, take a look at the Hardest Hit Fund. If your state takes part in the program, you could get a reduction on your principal, or help with repayments.
If you’ve got medical debt, talk to your provider. There may be various repayment options available, and they may be able to help you out.
We’d also recommend looking into credit repair software. Such software can help repair your credit rating, which will be useful while working your way out of debt. The programs automate disputes, letting you focus on getting out of debt.
Having bills to pay when you’re low on cash is scary. Don’t be discouraged. It’s very possible to live a full, happy life while getting out of debt.
Apply the tips we’ve discussed, save money, and you’ll be well on the way to resolving your problem.
Think we’ve missed any essential tips? Want to share your stories? Leave us a comment down below!