As your household grows, it can be easy to get lost in the paperwork that comes with doing your bills and making sure that everything gets paid on time. Having children, getting married, and buying or selling assets can complicate things, making it difficult to stay ahead and to know that every dollar you spend is working as hard as you want. Luckily, there are a few ways to clean up your monthly expenses that will not only save you time, but also money.
Streamlining Your Monthly Expenses to Get More Spending Money
Moving Past a System
Chances are that you have already set up a working budget system, whether it is Richard Jenkins’s famous “60 percent” solution, the envelope system, or another method of tracking your bills. For most of us, something like this is essential to getting started with budgeting, and by the time you are asking how efficient the system is or whether it is going to keep working as your family grows, you’re already dependent on it.
The key to shifting gears is to think beyond just the system that gets the bills paid, and to ask whether or not there is a more advantageous way to structure your debts and regular bills. By moving debt, bundling services, and discussing payment plans with various providers, you can usually trim a few dollars from your balance sheet while also simplifying the monthly paperwork.
Depending on how your debt is structured, consolidation might be able to save you significant amounts of money. Consolidation can get you a lower interest rate if it is done properly, too. Doing something like putting credit card debt into a lower-interest personal loan or using a low-interest home equity line of credit to pay off several smaller loans will not only reduce your monthly payments, it can also save you real money in the long run.
The other major way to simplify your monthly expenses is to bundle services together. Most people are familiar with this tactic when it comes to things like television and internet service, cellular phone plans, and other technological services. The other area where bundling can save a lot of money is in your insurance coverage. Many people who don’t carry adequate coverage do so because of the perceived expense, and a big part of that perception is a lack of understanding about the options.
Large, multi-line insurance carriers like Nationwide offer significant savings to people who combine plans by bringing their auto and home insurance coverages together. They also tend to provide specialty services, like riders for expensive personal items and life insurance packages that can be added to existing policies to make a great deal. This kind of combination can extend your coverage and lower your bills. Visit your local insurance agent to find out more about how to bring all your coverages together.
This kind of reassessment will allow you to catch your personal financial planning up to your current position, and it will also keep the number of outgoing bills you need to monitor in check. Just remember to keep things in balance: you don’t want to overhaul your financial plans too often, because it is labor intensive, but you also don’t want to let things go and wind up missing out on a chance to strike a bargain.