In this day and age, it’s hard to be totally care-free when it comes to your finances. Between your mortgage, car lease, credit cards, and any remaining student loans, you’re probably carrying around a lot of debt. You wouldn’t be the only one. According to the latest data collected by the Federal Reserve, the average American household is $134,058 in debt. Not all of its bad debt, but it can still be a shocking number to face while raising a family.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who worry about their finances, these frugal living tips can help you reduce your cash-related stress. From advice on paying bills to negotiation tricks, these tips will improve your family’s financial well-being.
Frugal Money Management Tips For Your Family
1. Use a household budget
This is the most important tool you can use to rein in spending because it shows who how exactly you’re spending your cash. Once you tally and categorize each expense, you’ll be able to find areas where you can cut back — like takeout, overdue fines, or unused subscriptions.
2. Prioritize debt
Experts suggest your savings should cover debt repayment, your retirement plans, an emergency fund, and a fun account. For the portion you put towards your debt, make sure you’re using it correctly. Prioritize high-interest debt like credit cards and payday loans, so you don’t pay any more in interest than you have to.
RELATED: How to Save Money on Cereal
3. Avoid late fees
Penalties for missing bills is an unnecessary expense. You can avoid paying late fees by setting up automatic payments through your bank.
4. Focus on your emergency fund
The cornerstone of your family’s financial foundation is savings dedicated to cover unexpected expenses. Once you have one in place, you’ll be able to pay for anything from surprise medical bills to unanticipated household repairs.
RELATED: How to Save Money on Toys
5. Read the fine print when you do need help
If you’re slow to build your emergency fund, a personal loan is a great stopgap. It can fill the holes in your budget until you can recover from unexpected bills. For those essential bills that need immediate repayment, consider an online lender. Their online platform allows companies like MoneyKey to facilitate cash loans in just one business day, making them the ideal solution for pressing bills. If you download an online lender’s app, you can get a cash advance fast using only your phone at a time that’s convenient for you.
6. Navigate the IRS better
Typically, tax season puts pressures on your finances as you worry about what you might owe to the government. Making sure you file them and pay what you owe on time is a simple way of adding more stress to the situation. You can also see if you qualify for special tax credits and benefits the next time you file.
7. Learn how to negotiate
You might be surprised to learn you can set up deferred payment plans with creditors. While not every company will have these systems in place, there are some that allow you to repay what you owe in smaller installments. You might even be able to negotiate a lower price if you’re lucky, so set aside some time to call your utility providers and other creditors to see what can be done.
RELATED: How to Save Money on Entertainment
To many Americans, a frugal lifestyle is synonymous with austere budget cuts that leave you bored and depressed. While it’s true, frugal living involves spending within your means, it doesn’t always leave your family deprived of the fun things in life. It’s about accountability, so you can take more control of your finance, beat debt, and lower your stress.