Two months have gone by, and we are in the middle of grad season! Soon, that special high school graduate will be out in the real world and having to face the same financial challenges that you do. So far on this blog, we’ve discussed a few ways simple changes around the house can save you money. We’ve discussed how changing shopping habits can save you money, and discussed how organization versus scrambled cupboards can also save money.
We discussed how careful organization, planning, and a critical eye can help when out shopping for groceries. But eventually you have to go through the till. You may save money on electricity, but eventually that bill has to be paid. Bills simply need to be paid. Companies appreciate it when you are early or on time with your invoices. People who are perpetually late may find themselves with reduced service or being cut off altogether. Not fun when your electricity runs your heat registers and you get cut off in the middle of winter!
This part of budgeting can be a challenge for people. The focus here, is knowing how much you bring in, versus how much is spoken for by the bills you have agreed to take on. When you sign up for a service with a company, you are promising to pay them for the service they provide. That portion of the money you earn is effectively spoken for before you even earn it, because you promised to pay that amount.
Make a list of the bills you have every month. Make a second list of the income that comes in every month. Make sure groceries are on the list, gas, car insurance if you have a car, etcetera. Ideally, the income total will be more than your bill total. If it isn’t, some hard decisions need to be made about how you are going to cover your bills. Perhaps there’s too much miscellaneous spending going on. Some households discover that when they pare back their miscellaneous spending, they suddenly have money for their bills again. Maybe there’s a bill that isn’t necessary, it’s a want. Cancelling that bill’s service will free up funds toward covering a bill that is necessary. Paying for TV subscriptions when your water bill isn’t paid is an example. Cut out the TV subscription and you’ll have funds toward your water bill.
If income is less than your bills and you’ve already cut out all non-essential expenses, then it’s time to consider how you can spread your income across all your bills so that no company feels you are not paying them. Look at your schedule and figure out how you can increase your monthly income. Maybe spending time building up residual income might help, and you’ll find a few options for doing this in the sidebar of this website.
Financial tips are available to your young graduate in my book, “Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate”.
The financial section contains a sample budget sheet, a sample grocery list, note pages, and more tidbits of advice not mentioned here. Take a look and put a book in their hands that will guide them well into their young adults years and beyond.