Borrowing For The Basics
from daveramsey.com on 26 Mar 2008
It's no secret that we all pay a little more attention to the thermostat during the winter and summer months; no one wants a high electric or heating bill! Some people, though, are struggling to pay their utility bill no matter how big or small it is.
A recent CreditCards.com poll found that 21% of Americans will either borrow money or use credit cards to pay their heating bills this winter. Think about that for a second. One in five people in the United States doesn't even have the money to pay the heating bill during the coldest months of the year! How ridiculous is that?
What if someone told these people there was no way to borrow the money to pay the bill?
Everyone in their right mind would find a way to keep the heat on until the weather warms up. They would turn the thermostat down, make a budget, cut back on unnecessary spending or even take a second job to pay the bill. They wouldn't want to face the embarrassment of wrapping themselves or their families in blankets.
See Things Differently
Using debt to pay the heating bill is just another way of wrapping yourself up. For some people, if it wasn't for the plastic in their wallets, they would not even have a warm home.
But if you simply had a plana budgetso you don't spend more than you have, then you would see where you waste money and can cut back. Less money spent on that morning coffee or candy bars at the gas station means you can keep the heat on without borrowing.
Don't make any excuses about paying off the credit card balance each month. What if the credit card company loses your payment, which happens more often than you think? They can raise the interest rate, slap you with fees, ding your credit, and there's not a thing you can do about it. If your payment isn't posted to your account, it never happened. Don't fall for that.
Little Things Add Up
If you do the little things and save small amounts of money here and there, those can add up. Do you pay $4 for coffee each morning? If you do, that's $80 to $100 each month that could go toward utilities. That's almost a month worth of heating right there!
Make sure to turn the lights in a room off when you leave. If no one is watching the TV, turn it off. When you go to the gas station, just buy the gas and resist the temptation to buy the overpriced goodies in the store.
Make a budget and look for the little savings, and the heat will stay on!