Too Many Bills Not Enough Money Each Month

hands tied with rope

Some Canadians are faced with the reality that they simply can't get to the end of  the month before running out of money. We humbly turn to credit cards, lines of credit or even borrowing from family and friends to make ends meet.

For some Canadians having a high debt load and spending more than they earn spells disaster and for some debt denial is better than acknowledging it. This ends up leaving no room for  retirement savings, the kids RESP let alone an emergency savings account. With grocery prices slated to increase in 2013 it's time to buckle down and make a game plan before the going gets tougher.

Do you feel like your hands are tied and you don't know where to turn? You're not alone but there are ways to tackle this problem so don't give up.

What do you need to do?

You need to either improve your income or reduce your expenses meaning that you have to take a hard look at your finances.

  • Do you know your net worth? You should.
  • Do you use a budget? You should.

Budget, but why should I budget when I don't have enough money each month? That's OK, you still need to know your numbers even if you are not making enough money to cover the bills. You can't improve something when you can't see what you are dealing with. I always like to equate this to an accountant who works for a corporation or any business for that matter. If he/she knew the company was struggling but couldn't give the CEO numbers how would they know where the problems were? They need the true figures to fix the problems and so do you.

If your debt has come about because you are spending more than you earn or other personal reasons you have to take back control. Being open to change is the hardest part of budgeting as no one wants to hear they can't have something or have to give something up.  Not everyone is in debt because they spend money frivolously there are a myriad of reasons but only you know your situation best.

  • Cut Back... and trim the fat from your budget-You might get discouraged but don't be a quitter. Budgeting is the single most important thing you should be doing in my opinion with your finances. It's simple and will show you areas you need to improve on so you can continue to build on designing your budget to make it work for you instead of against you.
  • Utilities- Haggle with your communications company to get a better deal or better yet get rid of what you don't need.
  • Grocery Budget- Use coupons, shop flyer sales, price match, play the grocery game challenge, cook homemade, keep an inventory and well stocked pantry
  • Eating Out- You simply can't do this, cook at home until you are in a better position.
  • Cut Up Credit Cards- If you already can't afford to pay your bills get rid of your debit and credit cards and live on cash.  Some like to put money in envelopes or jars which becomes your cash budget for the month.
  • Transportation- Look for a cheaper insurance carrier, sell your car get a smaller vehicle that uses less gas, opt to bike or ride the bus instead of a car, carpool to work or walk if you are so luck to be in walking distance. Petrol is at an all time high in Canada and another huge expense next to the mortgage and groceries.
  • Clothing- Second-hand shops, consignment stores or even retail outlets have blow-out sales on clothing or end of season.
  • Downsize- If your house is eating up most of your pay or your rent it too high you may be faced with having to downsize.
  • Debt Consolidation- Consult with a professional to see what they recommend for you as it might be something to think about.

That's all fine and dandy but I still don't have enough money...now what?

Get a second job- Pick up overtime hours if you can but if not look into a second job that is part-time. Do what you can to earn income from a second source!

Higher Paying Job or Promotion- Keep handing out resumes as you never know if a higher paying job that you love will pop up! Don't be shy to ask your boss for a raise or to apply internally for a promotion with-in your organization.

Finally.....

Pay What You Can- Pay your bills with the lowest owing and the minimum on the others. Once you pay off a bill go to the next lowest until all your bills are paid. Some call this the snowball effect and can be an effective way to get out of debt.

Negotiate Interest Rates- Don't be afraid to call the credit card companies and tell them your situation. Tell them you need to get the interest rate lowered or you might struggle to pay them the money you owe them.

At the end of the day you don't have to walk this lonely path alone, ask for assistance. Most of all never give up when there's too many bills and not enough money, simply make a plan of action and follow through.

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It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. Mary F Campbell says:

    Thanks for the post Mr CBB! There are so very many struggling this holiday season and perhaps this article can help them have an easier 2013. :-)

  2. Finding ways to increase income is a big deal for fixing any person’s budget/situation. When I first started to get out of debt, I ended up taking a 2nd job and worked 7 days/week for almost an entire year. It wasn’t much fun, but it certainly helped the disposable income.

  3. Good post Mr. CBB! I think that when you know you don’t have enough money then it’s the perfect time to budget. That can help you see where your money is going, how much exactly your short and what might be able to be cut.

  4. If somehow I win this, I pledge to pass it forward on my own site (http://livetheneweconomy.com) via a similar drawing! Great post and great contest!

  5. Those are great points. If you are finding yourself in this situation, you have to take a hard look at what’s coming in and going out and adjust. It’s no way to live.

  6. joanne tjerno says:

    Such a great post!! I was definetly in this situation more than once….being a single mom paying for rent and daycare was definetly costly…but i trimmed as much as i could and made it work……and hubby at one point worked two jobs….would work nights and then go back to work from 11am-5pm…i was 8 months pregnant and had to go on mat leave early….luckily…i learned to budget properly and coupon TONS>…..so now hubby only had to work one job….i finally have a set budget started for the new year….cut out the eating out to no more than once a month….strict grocery budget….and love thrift stores :) Thanks for the great post Mr. CBB!! :)

    • Joanne! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s great to get feedback from the fans. I can tell from your grocery game posts that you are truly working hard to keep the budget in check. Keep at it, 2013 is around the corner and whole new year of saving!!! Happy Holidays Joanne!

    • Yes, my bills have lowered because of my turning down the heat.. I turn off the hot water when I go out for long periods in the day or if I go away for any period of time.. I unplug everything as well. Turn off my water as I’m on a well system, just in case I end up with any unexpected leaks.. It saves in the long run.. I have budgeted for many years as my dad taught me, when I save so much then I can afford to splurge on something special..

  7. It’s not just Canadians! I used to be one of those people avoided budgeting because I didn’t want to face the numbers. I still struggle with my budget, but I do it faithfully each month, because the alternative is so much worse!

    • That’s correct. I geared the post to my audience which is mainly Canadian. I realize debt is a problem all over the world. Keep up the hard work. I can tell just by the way you blog that you will reach your goals as you are optimistic. Keep at it mate! Mr.CBB

  8. I retired in January 2010 at 66 years of age, for physical reasons. My daughter and kids were living with me since 2004, just moved this summer. Unfortunately what I have had to do since I retired is to cash in RRSP to cover house repairs and pay down debt resulting from repairs and from overextending myself to help my family. These weren’t extravagent expenditures, bathroom reno was a need for safety, roof was a need, plumbing emergencies, etc. Not much left for what I hoped would be a long retirement.
    Thanks for all your wisdom and the chance to win a little.

  9. Good points Mr. CBB. You are the only one that can make the change, so you have to know where to start. No one will change your payments for you without asking and you cannot negotiate without knowing where you stand.

  10. Jon (@GrownUpandStuff) says:

    Thanks for posting a link about how to get involved in these giveaways – I was always curious :P

  11. Great tips Mr CBB! It is daunting at first but a good finance makeover can help trimming a lot in a regular budget, freeing some extra cash to pay off debt.

  12. We would probably have to ask a family member for money to help us out.

    demureprincess7(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. A nice roundup / reminder of tips! I especially like your strict approach to eating out!

  14. Great post! I really identified with this one!

  15. Oh and if I didn’t have enough money at the end of the month I would probably borrow from my line of credit :-)

  16. I believe with enough fortitude anybody can successfully break away from the vicious cycle of debt and being broke. Great tips, Mr. CBB, I see you also included the debt negotiation suggestion.

  17. If I win this, every penny is going on the mortgage :)

    Solid tips and thanks for a great contest.

  18. Christine Weadick says:

    Excellent post …. some good points in there and a number of them I’m trying. The only credit cards we have are Mastercard and Sears. I use Sears once or twice a year so paying it off isn’t a biggie. M/C on the other hand…….we’re trying to pay off. We finally have an income coming in after months of nothing but borrowing off family. It’s not a lot of money but I’m trying to make it work. The biggest problem is hubby not going along and he can blow a budget to hell and back….If I won the money I think I’d put it on the mortgage to help pay that down even a little bit.

    • It’s not easy sometimes convincing others that a budget is needed. Maybe if they participated or saw that the debt was going down it might help them participate. I pray that he takes the plunge and joins you on this journey. I promise you he will look back and thank his lucky stars.

      • Christine Weadick says:

        I wish….. That boy will make a budget and tear into me about not buying anything we don’t ‘need’ but if he sees something he wants it’s amazing how much he will ‘need’ that item!!! And if I get mad at him for buying something… say another tool of some sort… you can make bets on how long it will take him to find something that uses that tool he just bought and isn’t it so great that he had that tool to do that job!!!!!!!!!! Average time frame is usually a few hours, seldom more than a day.There’s a very loose definition of need going there. Especially if it’s for him. What’s that saying……Divorce..never…….Murder…..yup…

  19. If I didnt have enough at the end of the month (as a one time thing) I’d sell some things I have but am not using around the house.

  20. thanks mr.cbb
    sometimes we need to read something like this to really remember to take a moment and think about where we are in our budgets and lives and if we need to make some changes within that now is the time to take action!

    • Our finances should not be put on the back burner nor are they a joke. Budgets aren’t for DORKS who like to play with numbers. It’s our future and I only pray others can see it that way as well!!Cheers Juanita!

  21. amie pepper says:

    we have been out of debit for 3 years and its great!!
    Its not always easy to budget some times but it;s always easier with coupons and freebies and contest to help.

  22. We’ve just phoned or emailed the company that we were owing…or just waited till they called so we could explain our plight

  23. This post has some good hands on advice, I’m glad I’ve never been in a position where I haven’t been able to pay my bills, but if I was, I would definitely follow this advice!

  24. Great tips and great giveaway! Have a great day!

  25. Great tips for saving for everyone!

  26. Carrie Perry says:

    If i didn’t have enough at the end of the month I would work extra to earn it back and watch my finances the next month closer.

  27. Canadian Performer's Money says:

    Oh great! Now I have to give away $200!!

    Is it just a random draw or do they have to prove they are improving their finances? It says “enter the $100 give away” and then under that it says “what do you need to do”.

  28. Allison Rehel says:

    If I didn’t have enough money at the end of the month I would unfortunately borrow from my line of credit.

  29. If I didn’t have enough money at the end of the month I’d take on another job, or work extra hours if I could, maybe sell something..

  30. I would have to borrow money from family if i was short.

  31. We got rid of the second car,means less gas and insurance.Motgage always comes first above anything else.Sometimes the least in the priority list has to wait until the next month,but still try to make a small payment.Since Ive become disabled I scour the net for freebies and samples of groceries and daily household items(cleaning products,shampoo,soap etc.)We also do laundry,etc during off peak hours to lower utilities..Ummm I’m sure there is more lol!Thanks for the chance:)

  32. I live on a disability pension so money is tight. In August I faced up to some mistakes I made over the last few years and started paying down the debt I accumulated. Your blog is one of a collection I read to encourage my goal of debt free by Aug 2014

    • Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoy my blog. Disability pension is far from enough money for someone to live on. Good for you paying down your debt, very smart move. Happy Holidays and Did you enter the $100 Cash Giveaway?

  33. Cheryl Grandy says:

    If I didn’t have enough money at the end of the month, I’d have to use my line of credit to pay any essential bills. Other bills would have to wait and I’d pay the late fee. I’d definitely look at my finances and find ways to cut back expenses or increase income so it didn’t happen again.

  34. I think I would take on a second job, perhaps a work at home type job to save on childcare. Oh and obviously I PM and coupon!!!!!!

  35. I usually just go without I am trying to plan ahead s there is less month after the money runs out but my disability pension does not increase t meet inflation

  36. Diana King says:

    Great suggestions but it takes work to follow through. We’ve worked hard to try not to buy anything we don’t really need and to cut down on the food we cook so that we don’t throw anything out. Its important to try and live on cash and only take out exactly what you need for the week. Anything left over goes into the pot for the next week.

    • I agree budgeting and saving money does take work because thinking is now involved rather than the general, Oh I’d like that and buy it. I’m glad you have found something that works for you Diana, that’s half the battle, the other is sticking to it. Cheers Mr.CBB

  37. Crystal Alves says:

    My 2013 has been going pretty well…
    -I have set up an budget: allowing money set aside for bills and groceries, etc.
    -Grocery shopping is always with coupons, price matching, but before anything I always take a look at what I have in the fridge and freezer, before I go out shopping. I always make a weekly food plan that involves my 3 meals each day and budget my shopping around that.
    -I have downsized my bills and other expensese – cut my cellphone plan in half, to a cheaper plan; and looked into a cheaper dentist and car insurance.
    -I have cut up my credit cards – It was hard at first, but I have made due without them. (If I dont save, than I dont have the money for it). I created 2 savings accounts, in which money goes into both from my paycheque, allowing me to budget my money with what I have due.
    -Clothing: I look for sales and what I need. If it isnt in the budget or not on sale, than I wait a few weeks till is.
    As far, as things have been going, I am on the way to achieving my happiness without money problems and without stress….

    • I’m glad you realize that if you don’t have the money for it a credit card isn’t going to cut it. I’m glad to hear all the positive changes you have made. The first step, is taking that step so congratulations to you! Mr.CBB

  38. I want to stop eating out and cook more at home this year! :)

  39. I have a budget set up every week for groceries, pay with cash so you know how much is being spent and where. Use lots of coupons and look for sales. I also price match the flyers every week so I getting the best value for my dollar.

  40. Mary F Campbell says:

    I plan to combine more things into our trips i.e. banking, post office groceries…all in one big trip rather than several and thereby minimize the gas and wear and tear on the car.

  41. Alicia Henry says:

    I turned my heat down 7 wear more clothes & I turn everything off when I go out fo rthe day including the hot water tank!!

    • Alicia, I have thought about doing this too. Have you seen an improvement in your bills?

      • We keep the heat down and wear heavier sweaters in the winter. If we are not home for the weekend or go on holidays we lower the heat. It has improved our bills yes. I’d like to hear if Alicia’s bills were improved as well. Cheers

  42. Jackie Morgan says:

    I price match and coupon, trying to pay off credit cards with the savings from doing that

  43. I use coupons and get free samples where I can; I have been buying in consignment shops for a long time and sell what I don’t need…lots of great tips here :)

  44. Besides paying off debt, my major goal this year is to build up the savings.I pm, coupon, cut back, but now it’s time to get brutal.

  45. I love the honesty of this post, Mr. CBB. SO many are in this situation nowadays and looking for answers. You’ve provided some very helpful tips!

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