How To Improve Your Finances By Being Proactive?

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What if you find yourself out of work someday in the future due to illness or disability? What if you are financially stuck and cannot pay your bills? This article provides important steps you can take right now to make sure you pay your bills in the future even if you are out of work due to illness or disability.

Creating a barebones budget

The Federal Reserve states that over 30% of Americans cannot pay an unexpected $350 bill without the use of a credit card or borrowing money from their family. If you already have an emergency fund, congratulations. You should delay taking money out of your emergency fund by creating a budget that allows for your bare necessities including rent, groceries, insurance, and transportation. 

If you need a budget assistant to keep you on track, there are good apps online. Research the best app that works for your needs!

You should also remember that almost everything is negotiable. If you don’t believe it, just call any of your service providers including the garbage collector, insurance company, or any other provider, and ask them for better rates. If they refuse, just tell them that you are looking for another provider. In fact, you should be honest and upfront with your service provider in case you can’t pay the bills on time. It is better to ask permission to delay the payment that n forgiveness from the provider. Most of the service providers including mobile, cable TV, wireless carriers, and other providers will be willing to set up an alternative payment plan if you work it out with them in advance.

If you have clothing or other items in good shape that you don’t need anymore, you can list these items online using plenty of apps that allow you to list them for free. In case you don’t like to search online, just take these items to a brick-and-mortar consignment store in your area. 

Using coupons and considering store brands

You may not be able to eliminate the grocery list from the budget. But you can decide how much you are going to spend on these items. many big-box and grocery stores in the area have apps to allow shoppers to add digital coupons to a store loyalty card. In fact, anyone in your family can get their own card for the same account, which can result in much bigger savings in the long run. On the other hand, there are some apps that offer cashback for buying certain items. Whether you decide to use paper or digital coupons, you can easily save more money by way of stacking coupons as well as shopping at stores that offer double and triple coupon days. Also, don’t forget about store brands that offer big savings over name brands.

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Evaluating and eliminating some nonessential expenses 

Even though binge-watching your favorite TV shows while recovering from an illness or injury may seem interesting, so is listening to your favorite music streaming service. Just check out to see how many services you are subscribed to and how often you use these services. What do they cost you each month? In fact, you might be surprised to see how much you are spending each month on such services and may consider canceling a few of them. You can always resubscribe once your finances are on track. 

On the other hand, have you ever reviewed your mobile or wireless plan recently? You can easily save money by switching from an unlimited data plan to one with a smaller quantity for the time being. You can also get a prepaid or no-term cell phone plan to save more money in the process. Consider eliminating other extras like your gym membership, frequent trips to coffee shops, and dining out at restaurants. Always ensure that you prioritise your bills and pay the essentials first and if you cant then try My Quick Loan do instant payday loans

Prioritizing credit card payments 

The average credit card balance is around £6,200, and most people tend to have more than one credit card. You should prioritize credit card payments by paying what you can – even if it is the minimum payment of the month. Don’t delay these payments since you will be burdened with late fees. Your credit score will decline since payment history accounts for more than 35% of your overall credit score. In case you find yourself with a late fee from your credit card company, ask them to waive off the fee. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, several credit card companies waived off such fees for customers who were affected by the circumstances. You can also ask the company to waive off the annual fee of your card or reduce the interest rate. 

Check with your creditor whether you qualify for any hardship or relief programs. The CARES Act of 2020 allows you to defer or pause a payment, make partial payments, modify a contract or loan, forbear delinquent amounts, or suspend federal student loan payments.

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Applying for government programs 

If you are struggling financially, make use of federal or state government programs that are designed to help such people in the country. Check your state’s unemployment insurance program in case you have lost your job and see what benefits are available. The US government helps people pay their bills including telephone, rent, home energy, prescription drugs, and medical. The SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers foods like vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, dairy products, bread, cereals, and poultry to low-income families in the country. On the other hand, the LIHEAP or Low Income Home Energy-Assistance Program helps low-income families pay their heating & cooling bills. They also offer weatherization assistance by way of fixing drafty windows and doors, repairing or replacing furnaces, and ACs that don’t work. Check your eligibility since some qualifications will apply to these programs.

Exploring credit and debt protection options 

If you lose your income, these programs will help ease your financial concerns. Consider applying for a credit disability or credit life insurance before illness or injury strikes you. Credit life insurance helps reduce or pay off your insured balance on your loan in case you die. On the other hand, credit disability insurance will pay off your loan payments up to the contract limit if you become disabled or unable to work. Both of these policies can help protect your loved ones and your credit rating.

Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.

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