It’s there in your mailbox. The bill you were dreading, or perhaps the one you had forgotten about. With it comes that surge of adrenaline and panic as you realize you don’t have the cash in your hand to cover it. Something’s got to give now, but what will help you make ends meet this month?
You’re not the first person to be caught out by a big bill. Why is it they always turn up when you’re not in a position to deal with them? Perhaps you’ve just had to cut down your hours at work? Or maybe you’ve had a few problems paying some of the other bills lately, and you were hoping to be back on your feet at last? Don’t panic. There are things you can do to make sure you can still put food on the table for your family.
Most companies can help you manage the payments of monies owed. But if they don’t know you’re struggling, how can they help you? ‘Fess up! It’s nothing to be ashamed of or worried about. They’re not going to tell you off and question your ability to manage your own finances. What they might be able to do is extend the terms of the repayment, or offer you a discount. Get on the phone to customer services and ask them to help you out.
Sell, Sell, Sell
If you have anything you can sell to raise a little cash, now might be the time to do that. Don’t feel pressured into selling items of sentimental value. There are still other ways to raise that much-needed cash. But hey, you were going to have a big clearout anyway, right? Old toys, old clothes, old gadgets, and all those things you’ve never used could be sold in a jiffy with a garage sale approach.
If you’ve got some spare time in the evenings or on the weekend, consider taking a temp job to see you through the month. Many pay weekly, so you know you’ve got cash coming in soon. Of course, you might take the pressure of this bill and turn it into the push you need to get going as a work-from-home Mom. This gives you the freedom to meet your commitments around the house, and you can start to work toward your goal of enjoying this kind of lifestyle.
Nobody likes to borrow money, and when you’ve had a bad experience with it in the past, you might be put off. There are websites like PersonalMoneyStore.com that can help turn you around again if you’re stuck. Borrowing from family and friends is another option but is not often ideal. Try to avoid pushing your overdraft or credit cards if you are likely to be charged a high rate for them. Refinancing current commitments can sometimes help. Make sure you do not cost yourself more money over the lifetime of your loan.
Find A New Service Supplier
Sometimes this can have immediate effects and benefits, but you may not reap the rewards of switching immediately. However, if you’re saving a lot of money by exploring this option, it’s worth doing, regardless of when those savings kick in. There are comparison websites for everything you might pay monthly for. This includes your phone services, TV subscriptions, energy suppliers, mortgage provider and more. Check you have met your minimum term agreement then compare online to find a much better deal.
Reduce What You Spend This Month
Would you be willing to give up driving every day to save a little on the fuel bill? What about your salon appointment or your Friday night movie? Cut your spend down to the bare essentials, so you have a little extra cash to cover that horrible bill. When it comes to the necessary spend, try to find discounts or sale prices for each item. It won’t be possible for everything, but you may be able to save ten or twenty percent here and there. Every little bit can help. Try a cheaper brand, or maybe give up the snacks for a week. Frugality can be tough, but hopefully, you only need to be this strict with yourself for a little while.
Retail Therapy Won’t Help, But This Might
Money troubles can bring on the blues. All you want to do is cheer yourself up, but don’t go reaching for that credit card right now. Try some meditation techniques or Yoga to help you find clarity, calm, and a little peace. Yes, it’s tough right now, but it won’t be hard forever. Read a book and take a little me time. You’ll get through this. Take up an old hobby, write a journal or a blog, or simply grab the cat for a cuddle. Don’t give in to that craving to treat yourself to retail therapy right now – it won’t help!
Avoid Getting Caught Out Again
It doesn’t feel good when we get caught short like this. You can reduce the risk of it happening by being better prepared for the next one. The first course of action is to detail your household budget in full on a spreadsheet. Don’t forget all the little things that you spend on like coffees with the girls, or getting the dog’s claws trimmed. The best way to be sure you include everything is to pull out all the bank statements and receipts you have and start listing the items and their cost.
Don’t forget to add your accommodation costs, loan repayments, taxes, insurances and medical bills. If you have pets, you need to include their food and medication. And don’t forget those seasonal expenses like holidays and vacations. If you’ve got time, go through a whole year’s worth so you can divide it by twelve for a monthly cost. Another benefit of doing this is so you can see what you should be putting away in advance to cover your expenses, regardless of the time of year. Now you can add a few dollars that you can put into an emergency savings fund, just in case.