27 Jul 10 Simple Steps to Reduce Costs for Debt Settlement
If creditors are harassing you, you may be interested in your debt settlement options in London. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can explain to you all of your options and assist you with everything from budgeting to filing for bankruptcy in London.
While it is important to obtain professional advice, this blog contains ten simple steps that anyone can take to reduce costs and help keep to a budget.
1. Create a budget
It is important to write down all of your expenses to keep track of where you are actually spending. You may be surprised at where your money is going as there are many hidden expenses. Write down all of your current expenses, analyze those expenses and then create a budget going forward. See our blogpost on creating a realistic budget for more information.
2. Change your mode of transportation
The most expensive mode of transportation is travelling by car alone. If you are unable to alter this, consider renegotiating your insurance rates if you have been without a claim for some time, or downsizing your vehicle. If you live near co-workers, or your neighbours also work downtown, consider arranging a carpool. If you live in an area with good public transit options, you should consider switching to transit over driving. In addition to saving money, not being at the wheel will give you more time to read, check your email or relax on the way to work. If you live close enough to your work, consider switching to cycling or walking to work. These are built-in workouts, environmentally friendly and low cost transportation alternatives.
3. Reconsider your monthly bills
As mentioned above, you may be able to renegotiate your monthly premiums for your auto insurance. You should consider bundling your other insurance products and seeking reduced rates for home, auto, life, etc. Beyond insurance there are other monthly costs that can be reduced. Internet and cellphone companies often charge hidden fees and higher rates than when you signed up. You are not stuck with these unexpectedly high monthly bills, as there are increased options with discount cellphone and internet providers available.
4. Reduce energy costs
While most of us cannot switch or renegotiate our hydro rates, there are steps you can take at home to reduce your energy costs. Increasing the temperature one or two degrees in the summer and reducing it by the same amount in the winter can bring down your overall costs. Make sure you and all members of your household turn off lights when they leave a room and unplug appliances when you are not using them. You may also wish to consider switching to more energy efficient light bulbs.
5. Go on a cash diet
Set aside a specific amount of cash in your budget that you can spend each week for coffees, lunches out, groceries, etc. Leave the cards at home for the week and spend only the cash in your wallet. This is good practice for sticking to a budget and helps reduce your discretionary expenses.
6. Meal preparation
Most of us know that restaurant meals and take-away food is a huge discretionary expense. One way to reduce your costs is to reduce meals out, but this is often easier said than done. To reduce the number of lunches out or take-away dinners, you should consider meal preparation. Every Sunday, bake a shepherd’s pie, lasagna or prepare chicken breasts and salad for your lunches or dinners for the week. That way you will be less tempted during the week.
7. Avoid name brand prices
When you are in a grocery store or pharmacy there are often nearly identical products side by side. One is the name brand we all know and the other is a generic or in-house brand. Often the latter is anywhere from 10 cents to several dollars less expensive. Over time, if you consistently select the generic you can save hundreds of dollars on your grocery bill.
8. Cut out or reduce your consumption of takeout coffee
Just as meals out and prepared food are more expensive than home-cooked alternatives, takeout coffee is far more expensive than the java we brew at home or the office. In the mornings, try to start your day with a cup of joe at home or invest in a thermos to bring it to go. If that is not feasible consider brewing your coffee at work or investing in a coffee maker for your office so you can brew your own at the office too. Save takeout coffees for special occasions and meetings, don’t make it a regular habit.
9. Reduce reliance on expensive financial products
When you aren’t sticking to a budget, you often have to turn to expensive financial products to cover your costs. These can include using your bank’s overdraft service, fees for bouncing cheques, pay day loans and high interest credit cards. To avoid the high fees or even higher interest rates for these products, consider using the cash diet (described at Step #5). No matter how convenient these products and services may seem, avoid them at all costs.
10. Tell your friends and family
Other people knowing about your plans will make you more accountable for your goals. Find creative ways to maintain those relationships. Instead of movies out with friends, consider scheduling a time for a Netflix flick and microwave popcorn in at home. Instead of drinks out for a date, consider making a special meal at home. With the kids consider baking a sweet treat at home together. The same goes for gifts. Instead of lavish gifts consider spending time together or creative homemade presents such as jewellery, baked goods, candles and more. Pinterest and other websites are brimming with ideas for homemade gifts.
These tips and tricks will help you stay on track, but you may need professional help for debt settlement in London. At McLennan & Company Ltd. we focus our work on debt solutions in London and surrounding areas. We help individuals and families who want to start over financially. Contact our head office in London, Ontario at 519-433-4728 or fill out our online form and someone will contact you within one business day to schedule a consultation. We know that this is a difficult time for you and your family and we offer free initial consultations. For your convenience, we also have satellite offices in Ingersoll and Woodstock and offer flexible appointment times.