When it comes to things like your personal finances, the New Year can be a fantastic time to improve the situation that you are in. The fiscal year will be starting fresh and people tend to make New Year’s resolutions that can give you that extra bit of motivation. Also, because most people have a bit of time off from their jobs, there are a couple of additional hours when you can actually take a minute to sit down and make a plan for your finances for the year to come.
These are bills that everyone has. If you have a home, condo, or apartment, you will have to pay utilities such as water, gas, and or electric. Now, most of us think these bills can be too high but wonder what we might do about it. Sure, you can try to use less water and not keep the house as warm as you might like it in the winter, and even change to Energy Star appliances and LED light bulbs that use less energy. There are also plenty of energy saving gadgets out there on the market. All of these things are good ideas and can save you a bit of money.
However, in some states, such as Texas and Illinois, the energy companies are unregulated. That means that instead of being stuck with a single energy supplier, you have a choice. This also means that the energy suppliers will offer various plans and rates at competitive prices to get your business. This is an excellent way to lower your energy bills and make sure that you are getting the best rates. Click here for more information on how it works in Dallas.
Taking Control of the Rest of Your Bills
There are steps that you can take that will allow for you to take control of your bills. Here is a brief outline of them.
- Analyze – take a close look at what you earn vs. what you spend.
- Prioritize – Make sure that the basics are paid for first – housing, utilities, food, and transportation.
- If you are in debt, don’t go any further. Do not borrow any more money.
- If you have credit cards with balances on them, stop using them and pay them off.
- Pay bills online. By setting up automatic payments, you will be able to eliminate late fees.
- Negotiate – you might be surprised at how many of your creditors will be willing to negotiate terms that are more favorable, such as a suspension of your payments for a few months or a lower rate of interest.
- Check your credit and make sure that your credit report is accurate.
- Track your progress to see exactly what is being paid and paid off each month.
Some of the best apps for finances work quietly and stay in the background while protecting you and your finances. For example, BillGuard keeps an eye on your credit card statements and red flags those merchants that charge consumers for products and or services that they either didn’t realize they requested or have forgotten about.
PayPal is another great resource. They protect you by acting as a sort of intermediary between your bank accounts and credit cards and those little known retailers online who sell you things. Instead of directly charging you, the retailers will charge PayPal and then PayPal will charge you.
Make Your Investments Better
Maybe you already have your budget on a tight leash and you already use protection for your spending. If this is true, you might even have some investments. You can always stand to make them work a bit better for you, right?
There is an app called Openfolio that allows for people to share investment portfolios with other people so that any investors can gain a bit of insight into money strategies that other people might have. This is sort of like a social media network but for investors who have the option to follow other investors. You might follow only people you know, or you can choose to follow big-time investors such as George Soros.
There are always little things that can be done to get your bills under control. Sometimes they are in plain sight and some require a bit of insight and ingenuity.