Better Budgeting: Living On What's Left

Living On What's Left

Budget Stretcher (featured column)
by Terry Rigg

Are you one of those people that pay your bills no matter what? That is an admirable trait to have when managing your money. You made the bill and you feel you are responsible for paying it. Good for you.

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Now, let's talk about how much money you have to cover your household expenses, after you pay all of those bills. Your household expenses would include your groceries, car gas, school lunches, and all of the other stuff that it takes to run a household. Do you have enough to pay this bill?

All to often, people tend to pay their bills and try to live on what's left. This never works unless you have enough money left to cover these at home expenses. The grocery bill will always run about the same and you will always need about the same money for gas, etc.

In other words, you need enough to live on.

I have seen this time and time again. Another bill is made and the money comes out of the household budget because there is no money available in any other category. Then what happens?

Many people resort to using their credit cards to cover their regular expenses. Since there is no other money available to pay their increased credit card payments, that also has to come out of their household expenses. This is how many people find themselves in over their heads.

There is only one way to change this cycle. You have to allow enough money in your budget to cover the things you need to live on. You may even need to do this even at the expense of your other bills. That could put you in a position that you can't make some of your payments, but at least you won't be increasing your debt, except for possibly late fees. If this is your situation you need to seek help to reduce the payments on your other bills.

Naturally, there are many ways to cut your household expenses that will allow you to pay more toward your other bills. You can save a lot of money on groceries by using coupons, buying generic, not using processed foods, etc.

GrocerySavingTips.com is full of ideas and tips to help you save money on groceries.

When you develop or revise your budget, always put the emphasis on your household needs. Once you have determined how much you need to get by, then you can see what is left for other bills.

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Copyright © 2002 by Terry Rigg. All rights reserved.

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