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Time,Tide, and Bill-Pay Wait For No Man

Time,Tide, and Bill-Pay Wait For No Man

    Bills are the bad guy–your ultimate nemesis.

    At the least, they’re like those annoying second-cousins at family functions you’ve labeled as  “Hoverer” and “Close-talker.” The point is, they’re always there. No escaping. You’re tied to them.

    Because of this inescapable connection, we often let bills consume our thoughts, and—even more valuable—our precious time. We trudge through the same cycle of  worries with each glance towards the fridge and see that bill stuck there staring back, unyielding. You owe me $64, chump! And I want it by the 16th of this month or its overdue!

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    You answer back in your head. I’ll get you the money, I swear! I…I just need a little more time. I don’t get paid ‘til next week. I can’t pay it right this second. I need my paycheck first.

    Add  another three or four bills and after a while you feel like the Mob is after you (or worse, the IRS). Everyone wants your money but you have to coordinate your bills with your paychecks. It usually goes something like this:

    I’ll pay bill 1 on Monday. No. Oh right, I have these other three bills due. Bills 2, 3, and 4 are all due at about the same time. 2 definitely needs to be paid first or it’ll be turned off. Bill 3 I suppose can wait for a bit… I can definitely put that off until… when would I get paid the next time? Where’s my calendar?

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    This. Is. Exhausting.

    Which leads me to my main point. The biggest time drain in money management is trying to time bills to paychecks. Most people spend somewhere between 4-8 hours each month trying to “manage” their finances this way. Luckily, there is a way for you to cut your planning time down by 90% and regain some precious hours of your life.

    The paycheck to paycheck cycle

    First, the root problem needs to be addressed: the paycheck to paycheck cycle—a problem so many deem unavoidable. It is avoidable. The answer is not more money, rather it’s how you time your spending.

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    Create a financial safety zone by slowly building up your funds (I call it your Buffer) so you can live one month behind your earnings…and one month ahead of your bills. Translation: your take home pay from November won’t be used until December. Everything made in December won’t be touched until January, and so on. Savvy?

    Building your Buffer

    Now, how to get there. For most people, it takes about four months to save up and make this spending shift. You have a handful of options as to how to do it: Go on a spending fast—just for one month—then do it again a few months later. Any money saved can be put aside for the Buffer. Work overtime. Sell some stuff. Discontinue a few niceties (again just for a month or two). The point is, once you’ve made the timing change, spending last month’s income this month, you’re there! It’s a sprint, not a marathon.

    Living on the previous month’s earnings will allow you to streamline your bill pay process like never before. Your needed funds will be right there, already earned and ready to go. If you’re on a variable income, the guess-work will be eliminated. Bills can be taken care of in one hour or less. Throw in auto-pay options and you barely have to glance over your bills. No more wasting time on valueless activities: fretting, bill/paycheck coordinating, or stressing. The money is there. You earned it last month. Done and done.

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    Take the time to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle and say hello to a world of time….at least a few more hours of it, anyway.

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    Last Updated on April 3, 2019

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get Aggressive About It

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep Trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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