At times it may seem as though everything you work for is already spent before you have your paycheck in hand. Picking up extra shifts is great at first, then expenses make it necessary to keep doing so and you find yourself in a spiral of living paycheck to paycheck. If this is happening to you there are ways to get back on track and reduce your financial stress. Below are some warning signs that may help you to determine if you are living beyond your means.
Carrying A Credit Card Balance
Credit cards can be a great way to build credit, earn rewards and have an emergency fund at times when it is needed. However, they can be dangerous too. As we see interest rates continue to rise, it is affecting credit card rates too. For new credit card offers the average today is 21.40%, with the average interest rate applied to any card which does not pay the full statement balance on the due date would be about 16.65%. For the first quarter of 2022 54% of all active credit card accounts in the United States carried a balance.
The cycle of utilizing your credit card and only paying the monthly minimum can open a trap door for you to fall through. While it is at times necessary, keep in mind this interest rate is generally going to be the highest you carry.
Options: The best way to get from under your credit card debt is by tackling it a little at a time. Try to start by doubling your monthly minimum payment. Focus on one card at a time, as you get it paid off try not to use it until you have all credit card debt under control. If the minimum payments are overwhelming, try reaching out to your Osgood Bank lender to consolidate debt. By putting your debt together with a low interest rate before it gets to out of hand, you may save yourself a great deal of money.
Financial Stress While Paying Bills
I have never heard anyone excited to sit down and pay bills, however, if you are focusing on that task to the point of losing sleep, you need to take a deep look at your monthly budget. Most bills are easy to budget for in that the amount does not change a lot from month to month. Having that information allows you to use your income and know what to expect left over after those expenses come out each month. Planning a monthly budget will help reduce your stress and allow you to have better spending habits in knowing what will be left.
Options: Visit us at Learning to Budget | Banzai where you can use this free resource to plug your numbers in and find ways to cut costs and build your savings. Reducing the costs you may spend on streaming device (such as canceling subscriptions) you do not fully utilize, cooking at home instead of eating out or shopping for new utility services can go a long way.
While most financial experts would recommend you save at least 20% of your monthly income into savings, that can be very difficult. The best way to begin planning for an emergency is to pull 5% of your monthly income and have it direct deposited into a secondary account straight from your paycheck. Out of sight, out of mind. Saving for yourself should be as important as making your mortgage or rent payment, a necessity for your well-being. If you are still struggling putting 5% back monthly, reevaluate your monthly spending and see where you can pull from to make saving more comfortable.
Options: Nothing is more rewarding than watching your savings grow as you take control of your financial well-being. Sometimes the best way that can begin is by limiting yourself to extras and focus on getting rid of monthly expenses that are not necessary. If you need help learning ways to help build your savings visit us at Basic Saving | Banzai.
Mortgage Payment Is Too High
Take a look at your monthly mortgage payment(s) and make sure that it does not exceed 30% of your take-home pay. If you find that your mortgage is over 30% it would be advantageous to talk with a lender at options in a possible refinance, if the interest rate would be in your best interest.
Options: Evaluate your current income, are their options for a raise or promotion you can work towards? Would you have the time and ability to pick up a second job? Does your house still meet your needs?
Stand Strong With Your Budget
With so many ads popping up in your social media feeds, as well as seeing the lifestyles others are portraying to lead, it makes you want to be in that group. The pressure to “fit-in” is natural and is a constant battle. Do not feel the pressure to do as others are doing, do what fits your budget and stand strong for your financial growth.
Options: Do not follow the click-bait and see what the 46 best home buys are. Chances are it is something that will begin collecting dust in your closet within a year. If some friends’ posts are too much to bear with vacations and the latest must-haves, snooze notifications for 30 days and take those posts off your feed. Certain influencers are making you want to throw your money at their must-haves? Unfollow them for awhile until your budget is winning for you, not them.