Tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Falling behind on your bills is stressful, and it can be challenging to catch up. Late fees, interest, and overdraft fees drain your accounts. It is a vicious cycle, but don’t despair. With some smart strategies, you can climb out of debt and get back on track. Here are three simple ways to catch up on your bills.
Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Create a Budget
A budget is a simple way to reach all of your financial goals and will create a realistic plan of how long it will take to get back on track. There are different types of systems that you can use. Prioritize all of your expenses with the most pressing at the top of the list. An envelope system is also a tangible budgeting system that allows you to see exactly where your money is going.
Label each envelope with a specific spending category and determine how much will go inside each one. Some example categories include groceries, gas, entertainment, and medication. Only bring as much money with you as you plan to need on a day-to-day basis. After you’ve gotten into the habit of keeping to your budget, you can go back to keeping all your money in your bank accounts. Alternatively, some financial software programs have been built to mimic the envelope system and you can utilize those.
Cut up Credit Cards
If you’re in debt already, get rid of your credit cards, because they will only help you accumulate more debt. It’s easy to spend money when you don’t see it disappearing from your wallet, so it may feel like using a credit card is less painful than using cash. However, when you get your monthly statement, everything you were avoiding will catch up to you and you’ll realize the hole you’ve dug yourself. You don’t need to close your credit accounts, but cutting or hiding your card will help you avoid the temptation of overspending.
Always make the minimum payment on the cards to prevent late fees, even when you’re not using the card. After you’ve paid off the card, you can start using it to pay for reoccurring charges you’ve already budgeted for. This will help build your credit score. Credit cards aren’t the evil they’re sometimes made out to be, but they’re very easy to misuse, so always be aware of your credit balance and your budget.
Payday Loans and Advances
Payday loans and advances are short-term loans that are usually paid back within a few weeks. These loans allow you to have a little bit of extra cash to pay for daily expenses or emergencies. While this is a useful way to get caught up when you’ve fallen behind for one reason or another, be responsible. Setting up a workable budget and minimizing debt are your best long-term options.
To get a payday loan, you will generally need proof of identification, a valid social security number, checking account, and source of income to qualify. Be sure to look for reputable companies, and ensure that you are on secure websites before proceeding with any transaction.
Getting caught up on your bills is a process, but it will be well worth the effort. Don’t get discouraged when there are bumps in the road. Stay dedicated to a realistic plan, and put every effort to remain consistent. Once you are caught up, you can begin to live a life of financial freedom.
About the Author
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now writes articles about health, business, family, and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg. When searching for payday loan companies, she recommends American Cash Advance and Title Loan.
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