At the end of each month, do you find yourself frustrated that you have less in your wallet and bank account than you expected?
Don't settle on the notion that this is just the way it has to be. There are ways you can hack your monthly spending to work out in your favor.
And you probably already understand that you don't need that energy drink every morning to get your day started, so we won't spend much time on that this week. Instead, we'll talk about real solutions that make an immediate impact on your budget!
1. Identify Your Biggest Expenses
Nobody likes sitting down to plot out every single dime they've spent over the course of a month, so here's an easier way to do it.
Go to your bank's website, or pull up your mobile banking app. Check out your bank statement. Some banks conveniently separate spending into categories, while others simply show spending and deposits. Start adding, and see what stuff pops up the most in the highest amounts.
For most people, these expenses will be a mortgage, credit cards, and food. Odds are yours will be too. By simply pointing out the most dollar-consuming elements of your bank statements, you're one step closer to a better budget.
2. Strip Down Your Mortgage Payments
If you're a homeowner reading this, you're undoubtedly making a mortgage payment every month. But you might not have known that it's possible to actually reduce the amount of your payment.
By improving your credit score and appealing your property evaluation, you may be able to cut the total amount down to a more manageable monthly payment. If you live in an area that has been recently impacted by a drop in property values, you might be overbilled!
Another way to do this is to pay down the principal. If you have a sizeable chunk of cash (savings, tax return, lottery winnings), put it toward your mortgage and talk to your bank about reducing your payment.
3. Reduce Your Credit Card Debt
The first way to stop paying so much to credit card companies is the easiest: stop adding to the overall balance. Figure out other ways of paying for monthly expenses than putting them on your credit cards.
To better manage your current balance, look into balance transfer cards which allow you to place your debt elsewhere at far lower interest rates. Or, you can apply online or in-person for a personal loan from a company like Atlas Credit and pay off your debt all at once, paid back at a comfortable 5 to 12 months.
4. Fix Your Food Finances
Whether it's just you or you have a family of five, your food budget will definitely take a considerable amount of cash out of your wallet every month. But if you carefully scrutinize your food bills, you might find a lot of places you can cut.
First, stop eating out so much. Those bills are the worst and can drain your bank down to zero in no time at all. Second, don't buy so much processed junk food. Buy whole foods, and try to respect that cool pyramid we all learned about in grade school. You and your family will be healthier for it, and so will your wallet.
5. Get the Right Numbers
One of the simple ways to fix your budget is to make sure you work with the right numbers. If you haven't updated your budget in a couple of years, then you are working with numbers that don't reflect your current situation. To get your budget up to date, gather:
- Your monthly income information, including your income after taxes
- All your monthly bills, including housing, utilities, car payments and student loan payments
- The average amount you have spent on extras such as entertainment over the past six months
Now it's time to fix the budget. Look over these numbers and determine where you can cut back so that your monthly income can cover all your expenses.
6. Forgetting About Recurring Bills
While bills may come at about the same time every month, it is still easy to forget about them. However, you can adjust your budgeting strategies to account for every dollar by creating a calendar that shows you when your bills are due. Make sure everything is on there, including old credit cards and lines of credit at retailers.
You can set up automatic bill pay through many banks or on the company's website. Just make sure you have enough money in your account each month to cover what's taken out.
7. An Emergency Throws Your Budget Off
Emergencies create budgetary problems. Suddenly, you have to pay a large amount of money in a short amount of time. How can you ensure you can cover an emergency as well as hefty housing payments, for instance?
Getting a personal loan is one way to address such budgeting problems. A personal loan gives you the money you need right away, so you don't have to dip into your savings or wrack up more credit card debt. If an emergency sends you scrambling, consider a personal loan as the perfect solution.
Address Your Problems in Budgeting
It may be tough at first, but with a little diligence, you and your family's monthly budgeting process can be streamlined and straightened out to save you money. You might have some kinks to work out, but it can be done!
For more fantastic finance fixing tips, check out the Atlas Credit blog every week! If you would like to apply for a personal loan with no gimmicks, visit any of our Oklahoma or Texas locations or apply online today.