It feels like certain bills go up every year, but when your income doesn’t increase at the same rate, it can be stressful trying to juggle bills and make ends meet. It may take more than one strategy to continue to make your finances work.
Make sure you’re not being overcharged. Many of us glance over our billing statements and simply pay the amount due. With so many bills due each month, it’s hard to pay close attention to each one of them. However, that’s how companies sneak in additional charges and price increases. When you notice price increases or extra charges, contact your service provider to find out why these charges were added and to get them removed. Staying on top of your bills is one of the best ways to keep cost of living increases at bay.
Cut out something extra. One of the quickest ways to free up additional income is to get rid of an expense you don’t need, especially the particular expense that keeps increasing. Consider all the things you spend money on each month and evaluate whether it’s something you can live without. Certain “extras” like subscription services, regular spa treatments, and premium television services are examples of things that make your life better, but you could cut without too much trouble. The more of these things you cut out, the more money you free up to make your finances easier to manage.
Look for ways to reduce the cost of necessities. There are expenses you absolutely can’t get rid of. Housing and transportation costs, for instances, are things you must have to survive. That doesn’t mean these things have to cost an arm and a leg. You can prepare more meals at home, downgrade your health insurance, split the bills with a roommate, ask your auto insurer for discounts or shop around with a different provider, or take advantage of ridesharing or public transportation to save money on gas. Negotiate on every bill you can, asking for discounts or threatening to go with a new service provider. And, if you can get a better rate by going with another company, make the switch.
Consider ways you can generate more income. There are a myriad of ways to make more money beside the obvious - working a part-time job or asking your employer for overtime pay. For example, you could offer your skills through Fiverr - a website where people pay you a minimum of $5 for various jobs like proofreading or design. If you have extra space in your home - say, a garage or downstairs apartment - you can rent out the space for a few hundred bucks each month. Pet sitting, house sitting, and babysitting are a few other services you can provide for a fee.
Take some time to research and brainstorm various services you can offer and work with you friends, family, and coworkers to generate referrals. The more ways you can bring in extra income, the better prepared you are for keeping your finances afloat when you’ve cut your expenses as much as possible.