The concept of being a month ahead with the bills seems like an impossible task at first. Many people think of it as something only high earners can pull off, but in reality, anyone can do it in a few simple steps.
This means paying bills for the current month with your previous month's pay. Just imagine that you could pay your March bills with money earned in February.
When I first got ahead on my bills by a month, a feeling of accomplishment and financial freedom grew inside me. It was not an easy task at first, as it does require planning and commitment.
Why Is It Good To Be One Month Ahead On Bills?
Financial worries usually come from thinking about making ends meet until the end of a month, with bills being necessary expenses. Being ahead on your bills by a month is a great idea not only from a financial perspective but also from the positive impact it has on your mental health.
Not having to constantly worry if your salary will be enough to cover all of the expenses for the month ahead and being able just to pay your bills when they come due is a big relief. The idea is for the money in your account to wait for the bills to come due rather than paying them ad-hoc with your current monthly salary.
When exploring how to get a month ahead on bills, another big benefit that comes to mind is creating a financial buffer that enables you to respond much better to any financial difficulties. It ensures that in any case you think you might run into money issues, bills will not be your worry as the money for them is already there, ready to be paid.
How To Get A Month Ahead On Bills?
To get a month ahead on bills, you should start a budget, select the proper budget method, figure out how much money you need to save, cut unnecessary expenses, roll extra cash over the next month, and make extra money.
Start A Budget
The first and most crucial step to take when looking at how to get a month ahead on bills will be to start a budget. This will provide you with a foundation to become in control of your money and enable you to plan the steps that you will have to take in order to save money.
A budget will enable you to manage your income, expenses, and other money outflows, including debt repayment, savings, and investments. When budgeting, you are then able to plan your monthly expenditure and save enough in advance to be able to cover your bills a month ahead.
Budgeting will allow you to see how much money you will have left over after your other financial commitments and, thus, the amount that, amongst other uses, can be saved to get ahead on your bills.
Select The Right Budget Method
Starting a budget requires some time, and you should select the right one based on your circumstances. There are many budgeting methods, including the 50/30/20 rule budget, zero-based method, or extreme budgeting. Make sure that the budget method you pick is the best for your needs.
Nowadays, you can choose between budgeting apps, digital envelope systems, Excel spreadsheets, fillable forms, or paper copies.
If you pick one budget method but later find out it is not working out for you, try another method. No budgeting journey is easy and without hurdles on the way. Make sure to take time to review and readjust as appropriate.
Figure Out How Much Money You Need To Save
When you start your budget, one of the steps you will take will be to look at your monthly income and expenditure. You will then have an understanding of how much money goes towards your bills on a monthly basis. This will be a key to understanding how to get ahead on bills.
To start, you will want to take the monthly amount you spend on the bills and divide that number by the months you want to achieve your goal of getting a month ahead on your bills. Be mindful that this monthly amount should be achievable based on your budget and not hinder your other financial commitments.
If you find that your monthly amount is too high, add a few extra months to reach your goal so that the monthly saving amount can be decreased. Smaller steps are much better than no steps toward your goals, so if you need extra time, allow yourself just that.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
To reach your savings goals faster, you can look to cut some of your expenses out of your budget. This will allow you not only to increase the amount of money you can save towards your goal but might help you to decrease the amount you need to save if certain bills can be cut out from your monthly expenditure.
There are many ways to approach this. One method will be to use the extreme budget, where your spending goes just towards the necessities, and you do not allow any spending for wants. This is highly effective when it comes to the speed at which you can reach your goal; however, it is also a hard commitment.
You can also take other steps to cut unnecessary expenses, which will be helpful in getting a month ahead on bills. When it comes to, for example, grocery spending, you can look into purchasing the best foods on a budget or trying out the best shops to buy on a budget. This will help you to have the extra money that can be saved towards your goal.
You can also look to cancel unnecessary subscriptions, which will also lower your bills meaning extra cash that can be saved. Every dollar will count and make your goal of getting a month ahead on bills just that little easier and faster.
Roll Extra Money Over To The Next Month
Finding out that you have money left over after covering all of your necessary and unnecessary expenses is definitely a very good feeling. However, what is important is to have a plan for when this happens so that you can help your financial goal of getting a month ahead on bills rather than spending the money away on unnecessary items.
Where at the end of the month you have money left over in your bank account, make sure to put them aside into your savings or another account where you will be putting the money away for building your income buffer. This will speed up the process of your reaching your goal.
For example, let us say you earn $2,500, and your total expenditure is $2,300. The remaining $200 in your bank account can then be transferred to the pot of money you are saving for getting ahead.
Make Extra Money
After carefully checking all of your expenses and cutting out unnecessary ones, your only way to reach your goal faster is to increase the amount of money flowing into your budget monthly. There are several ways you can look to do this.
Getting another job on a part-time or seasonal basis can be one answer to making extra money. Make sure your secondary employment does not conflict with your primary employment. You can also consider offering your professional skills as a freelancer, allowing for more flexibility.
You can also look to sell certain items that you do not use. Having a good look through your house, loft, and every cupboard can amaze you with how much potential money there is if you decide to sell it.
When looking at how to get a month ahead on bills, what you are also doing is answering the broader question of how to get ahead financially. This is caused by all the extra steps you will take to help with your goal that will help your financial situation further. All the even smaller actions you take today will add up and benefit you in the long run.
I remember when I first looked up how to get ahead financially on monthly bills, which I thought would be impossible for me to do. However, planning small steps towards my goal with the help of cutting unnecessary expenses allowed me to reach a point where my previous month's pay covered my current month's bills.
The journey to reach your goal can be tricky, with possibly many obstacles on the way but remember not to give up. If something goes wrong, take the time to understand the cause and adjust for the next month so it does not happen again.
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.