Make Sure Your Bills Get Paid

Although it may seem almost impossible these days to save money and still handle your bills, there are some very simple but effective steps you can take to improve your financial situation in a relatively short time, enabling you to pay bills on time and improve your credit score as well. The reason most people find it difficult to manage their finances is because they never stop to examine their spending habits and make changes to improve them. The key is to find ways to reduce your spending that you can implement successfully. These steps can be very effective and they will help you manage your finances so you can stay on top of your monthly bills.
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1. Stop buying your morning coffee. You may love the taste of Starbucks on your way to work, but that morning Cafe Latte Grand is costing you $3.65 a day. That’s $73/month or $876/year. Brew your own and save big time.
2. Don’t grab lunch from fast food places every day. Just because you’re working and it’s more convenient than taking time in the morning to make a lunch, a McDonald’s Big Mac meal costs around $8 today. That’s about $160/month or $1,920/year. A few extra minutes in the morning means hefty savings.
3. Cut back on movie theatres. With the average price of two movie tickets at almost $10, plus the cost of popcorn and a soda for two at another $16, you’re spending around $36 for a night at the cinema. If you go once a week, that’s about $1,872/year.
4. If you smoke, stop. Maybe you’ve tried in the past and haven’t succeeded, but maybe a little more motivation will help. When you find your scrambling to find the money to pay all your monthly bills, just know that even at one pack a day, you’re spending around $190 on cigarettes a month, and almost $2,300/year.
5. Cancel subscriptions you’re not using or don’t need. Ever notice how many movies on Netflix you’re not interested in watching? How about that gym you haven’t been to in weeks, maybe months? When’s the last time you watched Disney +? You’re paying hundreds of dollars for these unused subscriptions. Cancel them and pad your monthly budget with money for bills.

6. Pay more than the monthly minimum on your credit cards. The average interest rate on many credit cards over 18%, and some cards charge as much as 24.99%. If you had bad credit when you got your credit card, you could be paying even more. Those high interest rates eat up your money. Paying only the minimum means you’re barely paying down your debt every month. Depending on the amount you owe, you could be paying for years and losing more money on the high rate. Once you’ve got more cushion in your finances, pay as much over the minimum required as you can.

7. Make things last. Think you need a new car just because yours is a few years old? Think again. If your car is running fine and doesn’t need major repairs, put off buying a new one until your finances are in better shape. Don’t buy new clothes for awhile, make do with the clothes you have. They may not be the latest fashion, but you’ll be saving money that you can use for bills. Cars, clothes, appliances, cell phones, computers – make everything you have last longer and save!

8. When you buy groceries, use a grocery list. It may take a few minutes to write one, but you’ll avoid buying food you don’t need and you’ll save money. Buy generic brands that are cheaper than name brands. Look for sale prices on the items you need. Use coupons when you shop and save even more. These strategies all add up to lower your monthly food expenditures and leave you more money to pay bills.
9. Switch your cell phone plan. Chances are you’re still using one of the more expensive cell phone plan providers. Originally there were only a few providers with little competition and high prices. Today there are numerous independent cell phone providers and you can switch to them and lower your monthly cost.
10. Reduce your monthly utility bills. In the summer, set your air conditioner to a higher temperature. Rather than 70 degrees, set it at 74 or even 76 degrees. You’ll be surprised how comfortable you’ll feel because your A/C will still remove humidity from the air, a major cause of discomfort. In the winter, instead of 72 degrees, set the thermostat at 68 degrees. Stay warm and cozy by wearing heavier clothes in layers.
11. BONUS TIP! Instead of going on an expensive vacation where you’ll spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars you don’t have, go on a ‘Staycation’ for a couple years, until your debt is paid down and you have the financial wherewithal to afford a more traditional vacation.

These are just a few tips that will help you improve your financial well-being fairly quickly and enable you to handle your monthly bills more comfortably. Like all new ideas, it may take some effort to implement them, but they’ll pay big dividends for your financial well-being and future.