Let’s face the facts: between work, relationships and bills bills bills, adulting is a tough gig. Having gratitude for the life we have can be tough, but if you can tackle the hardest part of being an adult, you’re well ahead of the game. What is the hardest part? It’s getting those bills paid on time. We all have money woes. Here is your chance to get ahead and learn four tips for dealing with those pesky billing dates.
Tip 1: Budget
Destiny’s Child missed one thing in their hit “Bills, Bills, Bills” and that is how important it is to budget. Before signing up for more bills to pay, you need to map out your income. It’s a whole lot simpler than it sounds. Figure out your monthly income (after taxes) and deduct from that any recurring or fixed bills. Examples of fixed bills are rent, utilities, cell phone payments, student loans, etc. Once you’ve calculated what you spend a month on these items, the leftover money is what you still have to work with. However, remember that you also have variable costs each month like groceries, gas, car payments, metro passes, clothing, entertainment, and more.
Keeping an ongoing budget will eventually show you where you’re over spending, and whether you can afford any additional monthly bills. Yes, you may have to say goodbye to your streaming subscription if it means staying out of debt trouble.
Tip 2: Financial Apps
Speaking of budgeting, since we now live in the age where apps are everything, take advantage! Download one of many financial management apps to keep track of where you’re spending money and how much. On top of tracking budget information, many of these apps record spending patterns. They let you know when your donut addiction has become a problem or when you gave into that impulse buy. Some of these apps link with your loans, banking, and more. They are able to tell you what your net worth is, how much you’re paying in interest, and even how much you could save going a different route. Being aware of where your money is going is the first step to adulting like a pro.
Tip 3: Set Your Alarm
We all need a little help remembering important things. Use your mobile device to help ensure you remember to pay those bills. Set reminders in your calendar with notifications both before and on the days that specific bill is due. If you prefer the non-tech route, sticky notes on your calendar or around your computer monitor are great ways to get that reminder as well.
Tip 4: Consolidate
Debt consolidation is often a survival method for people whose debt has gotten the best of them. Debt consolidation is something to consider if you have an unattainable amount of debt, and you’re struggling to make payments. If you go this route, be sure to read the fine print, and find out exactly what effect it will have on your credit score. However, there are other non-debt consolidation options.
Contact your landlord and see if it’s possible to work out an all-inclusive rent. You will pay a little more per month on rent, but not have to worry about those utility bills. As well, if you’re paying for Internet, home phone, and cable all separately, contact your favorite provider and ask about bundling the services. Combining as many bills as possible makes for less you have to remember and sometimes you can even save a little on services — it’s a win-win!
Paying bills late often means paying late fees, increased interest rates, losing services, and a poor credit score. Taking control of your finances is a simple process that starts with acknowledging that you are, in fact, an adult. Once you take the reins, you will move closer and closer to financial stability one baby step at a time.