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While I don’t want to scream that the sky is falling, I think that every household needs to stop and take a hard look at their finances this weekend. Do you have money in savings to handle a missed paycheck or two? Make a plan to live on a tighter budget at least for a few weeks and you will be very thankful later (no matter what this is a win win plan).
For basic and advanced budget tips watch a recent Budgeting Q&A we did.
Here are a few things you can take out of the budget right now:
Turn Off Streaming Content
Sorry to say, Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu are not important. There are zero fees to turn these off and then back on again later, so go ahead and cut them now. At $7 to $12 per provider this can be a quite a savings for some families.
Tip: If the idea of no TV scares you, then take advantage of free trials offered by every provider. Cancel the ones you are using and start to sign up for a free trial each week of a different provider.
Switch Cell Phone Plans – Cut Data
Remember a few years ago when cell phone carriers all decided that they would no longer have contracts… yep that’s gonna come in handy! Call them and see what plans are available that are cheaper than you are currently on. Cut your data etc. for the short term. If they baulk or try to charge fees then threaten to leave… zero fees will be offered. Don’t worry if you want more data later they will gladly turn the plan up for you!
Check Now for Recurring Payments
Grab last months credit card bills and make sure to catch any recurring payments you’ve forgotten about. Cancel them! This is something you should do every time the bill comes, but use this time to really go through the bill with a fine tooth comb.
Zero Eating Out
This one slightly makes me cringe as it will hurt the hospitality industry even more, but in reality you shouldn’t be eating out. This is a perfect time to work on meal planning and save a chunk by eating at home. Grab our March Meal Plan we shared for some ideas. This should also include coffee and smaller purchases.
No Splurge Grocery Items
I know the grocery stores have no food, but they will restock. When you head in for the next few weeks try to focus only on what you need. Leave out soda, juice, cookies, chips and other loved items. Your waist will thank you, but you’ll also realize just how much those run up your grocery bill. You can do this for just a couple weeks, I promise!
Officially Cut Cable
I mentioned no streaming at the top, but if you are still on old school cable then this is a great time to join the rest of us in 2020 and cut the cord. Maybe you soften the blow and start to stream, you will still save a ton by cutting real cable.
Larger Budget Options
When you sit down and look at the numbers, if things are already looking bad then there are some bigger items you can do to help turn around finances and get back in the black. These are mostly for folks that were already in debt or that end up losing a job.
Sell A Car
If you are making car payments, then let’s sell the newer car and buy a slightly older used car. Pay with cash from the sale of the car so you no longer have a car payment.
Tip: This will help in two other ways too. You’ll have lower property taxes on a older car and you’ll have a lower insurance payment! Older is always cheaper!
Refinance The House
Mortgage and Refi rates are currently super low. Depending on your current interest rate this is a great time to refinance. While this option does depend on how good your credit score is, you could be looking at a significantly lower monthly payment that can help you deal with other debt.
Important Note: You should NEVER roll credit card debt into a mortgage. Refinance the loan, get a lower monthly payment and put the extra towards paying off the credit cards, but don’t add to the debt you owe on your home.
Get a Second Job
There are lots of great ways to make money working from home. If your hours have been cut at a current job or you just need side income these are great options. Here are 22 easy side hustles you could do.