Every month you look down at your paycheck—with a special glint in your eye—you hope, maybe this one time, it will last all month. But somehow, bills continue to increase, and as the financial burden piles up, your bank account suffers. The loop of monthly expenses might be stretching your paycheck a little thin, but there are easy ways to cut back without sacrificing quality of life. Taking a few proactive measures in will not only eliminate regular costs short term, but can help put you on the right path for lifelong savings.
Electric and Gas
For many, power and heating are the largest bills of the month. When you’re paying your own bills, it becomes painfully clear why your parents would swat your hand away from the thermostat and tell you to bundle up instead. Lucky for you, there are ways to save on electric and gas without living like a monk or freezing your toes off.
Cut Out Vampire Devices
Start by evaluating your power usage. It might seem obvious, but turn off any electronics, appliances, or lights when not in use. It’s easy to fall into the habit of leaving computers and TVs on standby, but this still uses power and can add up by the time the bill comes. Be aware of “vampire power” or devices that use power but serve no function. Items like phone chargers are plugged into the wall all day and sap power, but are only used for a couple hours. Consider plugging all vampire devices to one power strip so everything can be easily accounted for, and be turned off with the press of a button.
Keep an Eye on the Thermostat
According to Energy Hub
, every degree on the thermostat accounts for at least 3 percent of the monthly heating and cooling costs. While it’s not necessary to live like you’re in the Arctic or Sahara, be aware of the effect that temperature luxury has on your bill. Maybe consider a sweater before bumping up the thermostat. Better yet, invest in a programmable thermostat
which does the work for you, so you can enjoy comfort and save money at the same time.
The effects of bad credit permeate throughout every area of life. A low score marks individuals like a Scarlet Letter, and causes long reaching financial issues—from buying a house to buying a cell phone. The vicious cycle of bad credit can bury you, and the financial hardship that led to poor credit in the first place is quickly exacerbated by compounding penalties.
Don't Ignore Bad Credit
With bad credit, it is nearly impossible to get a loan or credit card with a reasonable interest rate. Lenders and creditors see applicants with low credit as high risk, and compensate for the liability by hiking up interest. In the long run, credit card and loan interest payments slowly chip away at your bank account, and make getting right-side up on debt nearly impossible. So if you have poor credit just avoid borrowing money, and there will be no costs right?
Not exactly. In reality, poor credit negatively affects nearly every financial decision and costs consumers in ways they wouldn’t expect. For example, utility companies check credit as part of the application process. A bad credit history might lead a utility company to charge a large security deposit to prove a customer’s validity. This charge can apply even if you have a history of paying utilities on time. Similarly, insurance companies are known to charge higher premiums to individuals with poor credit. Insurance companies correlate bad credit with higher claim volume, so despite the number of claims you have actually filled in the past, you will pay more.
Look for Ways to Fix Your Credit
If you have bad credit, you will lose money over time between high interest rates and other covert costs—but there is hope. The best way to prevent poor credit from looming over your finances is to partner with a professional credit repair company. Credit repair is the process of improving a low score through various methods like correcting mistakes with a credit company, addressing issues of identity theft, and establishing a budgeting plan for the future. While credit repair can be accomplished individually, the process quickly becomes time consuming and complex. For this reason, many people partner with a professional credit repair company, and for a monthly fee can leave it to the experts.
Online credit repair services
are meant to help members develop an overall better relationship with credit. The aim is to give users the knowledge and resources to improve credit in the short term, and address behavior that will improve credit for life. On average, professional credit aid removes around 7 percent of negative credit items each month. Online resources like Best Company
are also in place help those looking for credit building
opportunities find the right company to fit their needs.
Practicing these budgeting skills can save you on monthly bills, and help you establish an overall better relationship with your finances. The first step in saving on monthly bills is identifying leaks that can be patched through regular, savvy savings techniques. From there, the key is staying consistent with lifestyle changes, and budgeting diligence will lead to savings in the long run.