When you have a family, life can get on top of you pretty easily. Your home life can be distracting, and it’s all too easy to lose track of your spend and your bills. It’s often only when we get a red reminder bill that we realize we’ve dropped the ball somewhere. So what can you do if you’ve got more than just one red bill? What if times have become tougher than you were expecting?
My best ideas for coping with financial stress
Keeping your family healthy and happy will always be your priority as a parent. Keeping a roof over their heads is hard when times are tough, especially when you live in the second most expensive part of the United States! Jobs come and go, and income fluctuates a lot these days. It’s the life of a writer, who depends on this very website to bring in much of her income. A high cost of living makes it rough. Don’t fret. I’ve decided to share my best ideas for coping with financial stress.
The first thing you need to do is work out just how high that cost of living is right now. Sit down and redo your family budget. Factor in the bills you received for the last six months, so you can clearly gauge the reality of the situation. Try to clarify the true cost of running your home. Go through detailed bills:
- mortgage payments
- property taxes
- school taxes
- energy bills
Next, go through your food bills. Delete any items from the total that weren’t essential, like candy bars, or boxes of donuts. The bottom figure needs to decreased every month. If your income doesn’t match your expenses, it’s time to tackle some savings.
Start with the biggest bill – your mortgage. If you have an opportunity to look at HARP Program, you may find ways to refinance your loan to work better for you. This might reduce the monthly payments, or help get you out of trouble if your debt is greater than your current house value.
The next biggest bills are likely to be your energy bills. Change your light bulbs to lower watt LEDs, and make sure things are turned off when they aren’t used. If you’re going to be away for any length of time, unplug the appliances, and gadgets you won’t be using while away! You can keep the home a degree cooler in the winter to save a fortune on your heating. Save by:
- avoid overspending with a budget
- stop impulse buying
With a clearer picture of what you spend, it helps reduce your financial stress. If you still have a shortfall, don’t panic. Speak to your current employer about the prospect of a pay rise. Perhaps you’re due a promotion? Maybe it’s time to find a second job, at night or on weekends, to help supplement your family’s income.
Sell unwanted items
If these are not viable ideas, you can sell unwanted items to cover you for a couple of months, while you seek another source of income. Being proactive with the situation helps reduce your stress levels. When you know what you’re dealing with, it makes it a little easier to swallow the “medicine” of tightening the spending!
It’s not pleasant to find yourself falling behind with payments. Life is tough enough without being short of income to cover your living expenses. An active approach is healthier than sitting back and pretending it isn’t happening. One of the best things you can do is speak to the companies you owe money to about extended payment plans, or reductions. If they know you’ve got a problem, they can help you turn it around. Banks don’t want homes in foreclosure. If they can help make sure you get your payments in, many will work on a plan to help. Not all, but many.