When you are looking to save money on your monthly bills, it might seem like daunting task at first. Not only do you have to keep track of payments and due dates, but you also need to accommodate your basic living needs on top of those bills. For most, that is the biggest challenge–finding a balance between all of the necessary costs and expenses that will be used for entertainment or extracurricular activities.
One way you can minimize the headache caused by bills is to consolidate them. This not only decreases the number of bills you have to keep track of, but it could also save you money each month as well. In the long run, you will have fewer headaches and less stress about saving money.
To help in the consolidating process, here are 8 tips to keep in mind that will help ease some of the burden and stress.
1. Budget. First and foremost, you should always have a budget in mind before you do anything. This will allow you to categorize your expenses and distribute a budget to your top priorities and necessities. Budgeting also helps you stay in control of your bills to develop better money management skills. Once you have a budget, you can look to see where your biggest expenses are and work to consolidate from there.
2. Over-budget. A simple way to help you get ahead when consolidating bills is to over budget some of your expenses to allow some wiggle room for emergencies, or to simply save money that would otherwise be spent. For example, you might be paying for television, internet, and a phone bill separately. When you “bundle” those services, which many providers (e.g. www.saveontvdirect.com) do, they typically lower the cost of each service. So when you plan your budget, you can save money through these types of deals.
3. Plan ahead. Once you have a budget established, you can start planning out your bill payments and other expenses accordingly. That way, if a special occasion comes up or if you feel like splurging you will know when and where you can do so without affecting any bill payments. Know when your due dates are, and which bills can be combined with others.
4. Allow some fun. Consolidating your bills does not mean you have to completely deny yourself any fun; in fact, it can allow you to have more fun. As long as you maintain a reasonable balance between your necessary bills and everything else, you can allow yourself a chance to splurge every now and then.
5. Expect the unexpected. We all know that life happens. And when something unexpected comes up, it can throw us through a financial loop and cause undue stress. A good way to prevent this is to always be prepared for any last-minute needs or unexpected events.
6. Trick yourself. As you plan out your budget and consolidated bills, it might help to save money by coming up with little tricks. Bank of America is a good example of something you can try; the bank rounds up each of your transactions to the nearest dollar, putting that loose change into your savings account. With that same mentality, you can save pennies here and there that will help you out somewhere down the line.
7. Spontaneous is still OK. It is easy when trying to save money to get fickle in your spending habits. While it does allow you to be more disciplined, it can sometimes be too constricting. Every now and then, you should allow yourself the freedom to do something spontaneous and consider it like a reward. Just like working out, it can motivate you to continue these good habits.
8. No Hide-n-Seek. When it comes to consolidation, some companies will try and sneak in some hidden costs and fees. While they are required to disclose this information, you should still make sure you know and understand everything you are getting into so you don’t run into any surprises later on.
Image Source: projectdebtrelief.com
Disclosure: This is a guest post.