Paying your bills and living on a fixed income does not have to be a tedious chore if you create a budget and stick to it. Find out where your money is going and learn to live frugally while still enjoying your life.
Write a list of all income in your home. Include wages for everyone that helps to support the household along with any additional income like home businesses, child support, alimony or federal benefits, regardless of how small. Use a calculator to add your family’s total yearly income and write the amount at the bottom of the list.
Make a new list of all the fixed household bills that you need to pay on a monthly basis. Fixed bills are those that are the same amount every month of the year. Include the mortgage or rent, insurances such as health, car and homeowners insurance and other fixed expenses you have in your home.
Write a list of expenses that change, from month to month, below the fixed bills. Include your telephone, electric, Internet, groceries, heating fuel, gas and any miscellaneous items like pet care. Use old bank statements or credit card statements to find out where your money is going. Write down all expenses, even a cup of coffee and a new shirt.
Add the fixed and variable expenses together and write the total at the bottom of the list. Multiply the total amount by 12 to find the annual total and then divide that number by 52 to figure out how much money you need to budget for each week.
Divide your family’s annual income by 52 to find the weekly amount. If you do not make enough each week to cover the weekly expenses, consider cutting back on extras like the Internet, coffee stops and clothing until you have paid all your household expenses. Raise your family income, if only short term. Sell unwanted clothing, home goods and toys online or have a yard sale.
V. L. Hamlin is a freelance writer residing in upstate New York. She graduated from the State University of New York at Delhi in 2000 with a liberal arts degree and concentrated studies in literature and psychology. She has been writing online since 2006 and is currently a freelance writer for Associated Content and Demand Media.