Change the due dates for your bills. Try asking your creditors to see if they’ll change your due date so that it will fall closer to your payday. Some credit card companies, utility providers or other creditors may be willing to let you change your due date or billing cycle to give your wallet some breathing room.
Negotiate for a better deal. Chances are that your wireless provider or your cable company are not going to call you up when they have lower rates available. Do some research on what competitors are charging and ask if they will match those rates for you. If they decline, you would at least know that there are other companies offering better deals.
Treat yourself. Budgeting can be a lot like dieting — if you deprive yourself too much, you may be tempted to binge and undo a lot of your progress. It may be easier to stick to your saving goals if you work in treats and splurges that are important to you.
Set a modest savings goal. If the traditional financial advice of saving enough to cover three to six months worth of expenses feels impossible, you should set a more modest goal. Having enough savings to cover roughly one month of expenses can still help families avoid costs such as overdraft fees and payday loans when emergencies arise. It can also help to set aside cash when a large windfall comes in, such as your tax refund to help with your savings goals.
Track your spending. The word “budget” can make a lot of people cringe. But it becomes easier to manage your money once you kno
w where your cash is going. Many consumers think they know how much they’re spending on regular expenses such as groceries, but they are often surprised after they track their costs more closely. Scan your spending to make sure it lines up with your expectations. Also, look for any areas you may be able to cut back.
—adapted from The Washington Post