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When you are working with limited income, deciding which bills and monthly expenses to pay first seems impossible. While making all of your monthly payments is important, it may not always be possible.
The tips below can help any person working with a tight budget to decide which bills to pay first and, assist you in making better choices.
Make a List of Your Expenses
In no particular order, make a list of all the bills you pay each month and the amount you owe. For example:
Credit Card Payments
Child care/Child Support
Identify Your Essential Expenses
You probably have more bills than funds to cover everything on your monthly expense list, which is why it is important to prioritize your monthly expenses.
The number one thing all people need to survive is shelter. So, shelter should always be a priority. Utility providers will often give customers a month or more to make their payment before having their service disconnected.
Your second priority should be food. Your food is an expense that is a priority that may be adjusted
when necessary. There are probably items on your grocery list that can be limited or removed to save money for other bills monthly such as buying in bulk and/or buying seasonal fruits and vegetables directly from producers.
Go through each expense on your list and make a note of any you can delay payment on or set up payment arrangements. Most creditors will wave late fees and may even lower your interest rate. The expenses left are your "must pay" expenses for the month. However, there are resources in the community that will assist individuals with rental/mortgage assistance as well as food and utilities.
Pay Your Debts
Once you know your essential monthly expenses, focus on paying any bills that could impact your credit, such as credit cards and loans. At least quarterly, you should view your credit report. annualcreditreport.com allows you to view your credit report from each of the credit bureaus for free.
If you find that you don't have enough money left to make these payments after paying for your monthly expenses, contact your lender as soon as possible to negotiate a more affordable repayment plan.
Prioritizing bills and expenses will assist you in meeting your basic needs, protect your credit, and lighten your financial stress. This allows you to get clarity and success in achieving your long-term financial goals.
Lastly, free to low-cost rental/mortgage, utilities, and food resources exist in the community to assist you temporarily. These resources should not be used as a long-term solution for what could be a temporary concern.
Financial freedom is possible. Start planning to get yourself out of the rut and start living a life that is rewarding.