When your monthly income has to be stretched to the max in order for you to keep current with your expenses, it’s time to assess your overall living situation and make some changes. Financial worries cause a lot of stress and that stress can affect your health, your relationships, and possibly even your job. It is well worth the time it will take to sit down, evaluate your situation, prepare a budget and figure out ways to live within that budget. There are lots of small adjustments you can make that will help you save money each month and here are just a few:
Home Improvements and Maintenance
You’re probably thinking that the idea of making home improvements is out of the question when you’re already in a financial bind. However, you don’t have to make large improvements. Simple steps such as caulking windows, adding weather stripping to doors and changing outdated light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs can make a difference in your electric bill. Changing the furnace filter regularly will help it run more efficiently and help reduce your heating and cooling cost.
Review Insurance Premiums
It’s important to talk with professional agents, such as those with the Northeast Insurance Agency, to see if you’re getting the best price and coverage for your home and car. Insurance premiums vary according to the type of car you have. If your current car payments are uncomfortably high and your car is worth more than you owe, you might want to trade it to get lower payments and possibly a lower insurance premium. Do some research before selling a car that you’re making payments on, especially if you owe more than what your car is valued at.
Enjoy Your Home More
Home shouldn’t just be a place that you pass through on the way to somewhere else. It should be a place where you can relax and enjoy family time or personal time. Preparing meals at home is more frugal than eating at a restaurant. If the cost of your TV plan is taking a big chunk of your income, cancel it and discover new activities that are free or nearly free. Taking a walk after dinner, buying books at yard sales or charity book sales, playing board games as a family and numerous other activities can replace TV time.
The Rainy Day Fund
It’s hard to grasp the idea of putting money aside for a rainy day when you’re already pinching pennies. However, knowing you have a cushion to fall back on if necessary can eliminate some stress. Keep in mind that you can start small and increase the amount to put aside as your monthly expenses decrease or your income increases. Take the money you’re saving by eating at home or what you save on your electric bill after sealing drafty areas and put that in your rainy day fund. Slowly but surely your fund will grow and seeing it grow may encourage you to find more ways to save.
Living from paycheck to paycheck and just squeezing out enough money to keep yourself out of financial trouble is not a pleasant way to live. Until your income increases, it’s a good idea to cut out all unnecessary expenses and compare prices to reduce the necessary expenses such as insurance, food and any medicines you need. Look at frugal living an opportunity to use your creativity for personal financial gain.