Does your Friday paycheck barely last until Wednesday? There are a few tricks you can try to make that money last a little longer. However, you must first establish a general household budget. Add up how much you earn each month, after taxes, and add that to the income of any other household members. Use that total income and subtract any mandatory expenses. These include necessary items such as the power bill, mortgage, and groceries.
Did you come up with a positive number? That means you make enough money, but need to cut back on discretionary or optional items such as lattes or fast food. Was your answer a negative number? Then you need to work on your mandatory expenses, which can prove difficult but still possible.
Here are three tricks for lowering your mandatory expenses.
Create Grocery List Around Sales
Use the weekly grocery ads to find the best deals in your town, find the best sales, and base your meal planning around the lowest prices. Packaged items such as macaroni and cheese or rice tend to always be cheap. Shopping the sales, though, will also put higher quality meats and fresh vegetables within your price range.
Check to see if your grocer has a store loyalty card that gives discounts. The cards are usually free and can come with added benefits such as credit towards a gasoline purchase. You can also find coupons in the Sunday newspaper or print them offline. Numerous coupon clipping websites and blogs exist to help you find better ways to save.
Ask for a Different Payment Plan on Utilities
Utility companies are often willing to work with you to make the account more manageable. You need to approach them with a reasonable request and the intention to fully pay the bill. Companies can agree to move the payment date, which is helpful if all of your bills come due at the same week. The company might also agree to a weekly or biweekly payment schedule instead of monthly. That schedule can break the payments down into more manageable chunks.
Note that this tactic can also work with your mortgage lender. Some lenders actually offer better terms and a shorter loan life to those willing to make biweekly payments instead of monthly.
Raise Your Auto Insurance Deductible
Contact your auto insurance company and request a raise in deductible. This means you will pay more out of pocket if an accident occurs, but your monthly premium payments will be lower. Note that you will save the most money from raising the deductible only on your collision coverage rather than your comprehensive coverage, which also covers theft and natural disasters. According to Bankrate, this tactic can save up to $300 a year off your premiums. Contact an insurance agent such as Ramey Fesperman for more information about this.
Combine these tips with lowered discretionary spending and your paycheck should start to stretch further.