Let’s face it, bills are part of life. Granted, they are not one of the fun parts of life, but they are part of adulthood nevertheless. In the midst of all the changes that life boasts, it’s easy to get bogged down in a cycle of monthly payments. Between your rent payments, your car payments, paying for your phone, furniture, TV, credit cards…….the monthly payments add up fast. If you are also trying to juggle monthly payments on student loans or medical bills, the stress and pressure just keep rising. We have good news! There is a way to limit the stress of the monthly payment cycle and free up extra cash. Don’t think so? Check out these tips!
1-) Pay Off Your Car Loan Early. Vehicles typically depreciate in value (with the exception of the rare instance of antique vehicles, maybe). Automobiles are not good investments. Interest rates are typically high and there is no return on the investment you made. There are a few ways that you can decrease the hit of your auto payments though! First, pay extra each month. Even if you are just paying an extra $50 each month, pay extra. This extra payment will help speed up the payment of your loan which will decrease the overall interest amount that you pay over the life of the loan. Second, never skip payments. When you are trying to balance the monthly payment game each month, sometimes payments slip. However, skipping payments lengthens the life of your loan (which means more interest paid) plus it can adversely impact your credit history which can cause problems down the road. Lastly, don’t buy into the “new car myth”. Resist the urge to go get a new car. Because with a new car comes a new car payment and you’re right back where you started.
2-) Create A Monthly Budget. It’s easy to get lost in the cyclone of monthly payments. Life happens and sometimes you might pay late…..only to be faced with late fees and, you guessed it, another monthly payment right around the corner. Simplify your life and your finances by creating a monthly budget for your payments. This doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Try using a simple excel sheet and break down your expenses into categories (food, rent/mortgage, utilities, entertainment, etc.). This can help you visualize where your money is going each month and can help you plan ahead for the payments you have coming up. Also, a budget is a great way to identify where you can free up some money each month.
3-) Set up your budget one essential expense at a time: Aim to cover 3 month’s worth of a regularly re-occurring bill (such as your mortgage). Then branch out to having 3 month’s worth of savings in another essential area (such as car payments, insurance, etc.). Gradually expand your savings from 3 months out to an eventual 6 months. Breaking it down can make the goal seem less daunting.
4-) Make accessing your money a little inconvenient: Consider opening an account that only contains the money you “function” out of for expenses such as gas, groceries, etc. This “functional account” could be linked to a debit card that you use for everyday purchases. Keep the majority of your funds in a higher-interest earning account that is less accessible. Keep in mind that your “functional” account is different than your “emergency fund” (which also should not be linked to your credit card, debit card or check book for easy access). An emergency fund is for just that….an emergency. As much as it might seem like it (and I’m right in there with you!), new golf clubs, a new pair of shoes, or a latte everyday around that 3 pm energy slump time is not an emergency.
5-) Check Your Loans And See If Refinancing Is A Good Option. You can look at refinancing your auto loan for lower monthly payments and a shorter payment term. Remember earlier when we mentioned that having a strong payment history can help you down the road? Well this is one area where it can help. If you have been skipping payments and paying late, there is a good chance the refinancing will be much harder. If you have student loans or medical loans, look into loan relief programs or discuss payment options. You may have to do some homework to find out how you can get rid of these loans faster (or get funding to help cover them), but it will be well worth it in the long run.
To get the tailored policy coverage that you need for your home, valuables, auto, LIFE, or business, call The CHOICE Insurance Team today at 757-416-5100 and ask for a free, comprehensive review. Give us a call today!
All the Best,
The CHOICE Team
In 2008 Choice Insurance Agency was created out of the former Realty Consultants Insurance Agency founded in 1980 by George Ayers Capt. USN Ret. Since 2008 the Choice Insurance Agency has more than tripled in size and is continue on a track of rapid growth. The Choice Insurance Agency focuses on four areas of expertise: Private Client Group, Coastal Coverage, Senior Programs and Commercial/Business Insurance. Our business model has allowed us to expand into all of the states on the Eastern Seaboard from New York to Florida including Pennsylvania and DC to better serve our ever-growing client base. As an Insurance brokerage stationed in Hampton Roads with access to well over 40+ insurance carriers, the Choice Insurance Agency is able to shop for the best rates, cover those picky coastal zones and create a tailored plan to fit your insurance needs. The Choice Insurance Agency. Call us today and see why we are the top “CHOICE” in Hampton Roads.