The paydays come and go but the debt continues to rise. Credit card balances rise while minimum payments barely put a dent in the amount left owing. Loans continue to suck money out of bank accounts on a monthly basis. Worst of all, savings accounts remain underfunded.
If that scenario sounds familiar then you aren’t alone. The good news is that no damage is permanent. You can change your habits and take charge of your financial situation.
One of the best ways to manage your monthly expenses is to lower them.
Here are some great ways to get your spending under control.
1. Build a Budget and Stick to it
Building a budget is one of the best ways to lower monthly expenses. After all, if you don’t have a plan for your money and you don’t know where your money is going then how can you manage your money?
The problem is that less than half of all Americans actually use a monthly budget.
Creating a household budget can be eye opening. The simple act of sitting down to list your expenses and compare them with your income can reveal some areas where you can immediately make changes.
Once you have started budgeting, other good habits like meal planning will come easily. Plan your meals every week and shop based on your plan and your budget. This will help prevent unnecessary purchases that add to your bill at the checkout line.
2. Consolidate Student Loan Debt
More and more Americans are graduating with massive student debt bills that chase them as they begin their professional lives. With 44 million people carrying $1.5 trillion in student debt, that means the average amount of debt at graduation works out to just under $40,000 per person.
Paying student debt down quickly is important as the loans are often structured so that interest rates rise after graduation. These higher interest rates often cause people to struggle for years under the weight of their student loan debt.
Consolidating student loan debt can be a huge help if interest rates have risen and the monthly payments are becoming unmanageable. Some companies will even comparison shop on your behalf to find you the best rates to help you immediately cut your expenses and start tackling your debt even faster.
3. Shop Around For Services
Some monthly expenses simply cannot be cut. You still need to insure the vehicle you use for work, most people need a phone, and you still need to eat. That doesn’t mean that you should just accept those expenses as they are.
Try shopping around for lower prices on the services you need every month. Can you find less expensive car insurance? Saving $20 per month on insurance can add up fast. Also look for more affordable phone plans and try shopping at grocery stores with generic brands that cost less than the big names.
Never Give Up on Yourself
Cutting expenses is never an easy thing to do. You are accustomed to a certain lifestyle and making some changes may be easy while others could be incredibly difficult.
There will be ups and downs but just commit yourself to sticking through the rough patches. You will come out stronger and, hopefully, with more money in your bank account.