When you struggle under the oppression of debt and you are just living paycheck to paycheck, you may feel helpless to ever improve your financial situation. Chances are, you're bearing down and working tirelessly only to feel as though you are running in circles. As you fight exhaustion, you may ask yourself “what's the point?” A dangerous question that tends to lead you further into debt as you give in to that loss of hope in a better life. Don't give up. It's never too late to take control. All you need is a plan and some determination. To give you a leg up, here are some easy financial hacks to help you pay bills a month ahead or more, even if you never have enough money to save for yourself.
Look at Your Monthly Statements
This hack is so simple and most people just don't do it. With everything automated and the power of denial, looking at your financial situation head on is scary and easily avoidable. But not looking at it will get you nowhere near a solution. When you address your spending habits and look at them in black and white, it becomes a part of your focus. The more you look at it, without doing anything else, you manage to put those spending habits at the top of your mind. That is necessary for any impactful change to occur.
Tune Out and Log Off
There is a direct correlation between how productive you are vs how much you spend on entertainment. If your cable bill is too high, or you have too many streamers/movie rentals on your statement, it's time to cut it out. There is very little that is worth your time and money anyway and when you cut the cord, you will soon start to realize how much potential for productivity was missed watching old episodes of The Office. The thing about freeing up your time to be more productive is that you can instead explore ways to make more money on the side. The same thing goes for spending too much time on social media. It's much more beneficial to go out and really socialize with real people.
Spend More on Groceries
The secret with groceries is that it isn't in how much you spend, it's how much you buy. Make sure you are stocked up on the right things so that you no longer feel like there is nothing to eat. How often have you ordered from Postmates even with a full pantry at home because you didn't have what you wanted? But prepared food is expensive enough without all the service fees. You don't have to be a master chef to whip up some easy meals at home and save a ton of money despite a higher grocery bill. It just takes intention and commitment and you'll free up enough to pay bills a month ahead.
Pay Yourself First
You may not feel like this is possible, but it always is. As soon as you get paid, start putting a percentage of that money aside automatically before you pay any bills. The government does it, why shouldn't you? It's your money! You can always find something else to cut from your expenses whether it's a daily coffee, or just one coffee trip a week. a small sacrifice each month to pay yourself first will accumulate quickly and get you to a point where you are at least one month ahead on your payments.
Manipulate Your Payment Schedule
Most payments are automated and they have a specific date where your funds are withdrawn. These dates can have an impact on your bank account beyond depleting it. By managing these dates and controlling when your money goes out, you can get a better handle on your budget. At the same time, you might be able to gain an advantage in timing by pushing certain payments back and giving yourself more opportunity to increase your account balance in the meantime. Adjusting your pay schedule may be the only hack you need to pay bills a month ahead.
P.S. You may also like these posts “How I Save $300 a Month on Groceries Without Coupons” and Resist Spending with 5 Easy Splurge-Fighting Tactics