Consumer Credit Counseling Service News Articles
I know! I know! You’ve tried it. You’ve heard them all. BUT have you?? There are ways to save in this unique time of quarantine. Read on…
SET UP A BUDGET
Your budget is your financial lifeline. List every income source you have: day job, benefits, part time, and odd jobs.
Detail all your expenses, like you home payment, car loan, insurance, utility payments and anything that is mandatory every month to pay. Include gas and groceries even though they fluctuate.
Create line item budgets for each category. Give a realistic estimate and check back every couple of weeks to check your status. Make adjustments as necessary.
REMEMBER: Budgets are a growing, living document. It is a tool. Make sure you aren’t overspending and all of you money is going where it needs to go.
GET A BUDGETING APP
You can use pen and paper or a spreadsheet, but you could also get an app. There’s an app for that! Usually they sync with your banking information but there are basic ones that you do not need to set up that way. YOu can set budgets for each category, whether it’s your car loan or home supplies. Budgeting apps are made to keep you organized and alert you in case your spending is getting close to maxing out.
LOWER YOUR ELECTRICITY BILL
Your electricity bill is directly related to your usage. Even if you’re home more, you can still save. Use those ceiling fans. Shut off air conditioning and open the windows. Switch to LED bulbs, install a dimmer. Turn off unused items from their power source. It adds up.
LOWER YOU INTERNET BILL
To lower you internet bill, start by reviewing it. Check your data usage, speed, and how many devices are on your plan. Consider ditching a few devices from your plan. Try bundling services – like cell phones or cable TV – to catch a discount. Look at competing offers. Ask you current provider if they’ll match. If not, it might be time to switch.
LOWER YOU MORTGAGE PAYMENTS
Refinancing your mortgage could get you a lower interest rate and monthly bills. As long as your credit score is in decent shape and you’ve got some cash on hand to cover closing costs again, refinancing might be a good idea.
If you have at least 20% equity in your home, time to ditch PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). Call to get it removed from your bill.
Review your home insurance. Increase your deductible, see if you can bundle with auto to save. Compare costs from other insurance providers, might be time to switch.
SAVE ON AUTO BILLS
If you’re behind on your car payment because of COVID-19, you can contact your lender about alternative payment options. Many lenders don’t want to repossess your car or even institute late fees. Ask what financial hardship programs are available. Some have deferment options.
Increase your deductible on your car insurance or see if you qualify for a lower rate due to a clean driver record. Shop around for rates and see if your provider will match competing offers. Consider switching if it would save on your monthly costs.
AUTOMATE YOUR ACCOUNTS
Autopay not only ensures you’re paying your bills on time, some lenders reward good behavior with a discount. Some phone providers will give you a dollar amount or percentage off your bill every month with autopay. Ask you providers or lenders if they have one and what you qualify for.
CANCEL UNUSED SUBSCRIPTIONS
In quarantine life, you might need to start cutting down on extras. Do you really need that beauty box, coffee box, etc.? If you’re using monthly subscriptions and find them useful, keep them. But if they are stacking up, might be time for a subscription scrub.
GET INTO MEAL PREP
Your food budget might be the easiest line item to lower. Lessen or eliminate your takeout spending! Opt for more home-made meals. This alone could save you a bundle.
Don’t buy a bunch of ingredients without having a plan. Map out exactly what you need from the grocery store for the next couple days’ worth of meals. This lowers your chances of impulse buys and throwing away food you never got around to eating.
YOU GOT THIS! And you CAN do it!