You know that feeling when you open your mailbox and just know it’s full of bills? Bills that fill you with a sense of dread. Maybe that’s a dated example. How about when you open your inbox on the first of the month to a long list of companies wanting your hard earned cash. It sucks right? Bills are the worst!
Why do we think like that though?
Sure, you might make a few foolish purchases here and there, but not always. Likely not even that often. I bet the majority of things you buy make you happy.
If the dread you feel when opening your credit card receipt is outweighing the good, you feel when swiping, you’re doing it wrong. It’s fixable though. You need to change your thinking and become more mindful of spending money.
This hasn’t always been something I’ve succeeded at. I have a bad history of making frivolous purchases:
- That ill-fitting yellow cardigan that looked cute on the hanger in the grocery store
- A romper (and that other romper)…I am NOT a girl who wears rompers.
- My two-year subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine
- A slap-chop
None of those are wins, and they all led had me feeling buyers remorse. Mistakes happen though and there’s not much you can do but look forward and try to be better.
Make Every Payment Count
We’re not striving for perfection here. We’re talking small steps in the right direction to eliminate that sense of dread you’re feeling at the sight of your bills. I’ve said that it’s all about making mindful purchases, so how exactly do you follow that guideline? I have a couple of suggestions that have worked for me…
Remove the Temptation
My self-control sucks. If there’s chocolate in the house you can bet I’m going to eat it, motivating myself to workout is a constant battle, and an email promoting a tempting clearance sale at my favourite store will always get opened. I know this about myself, and recognizing that means it’s a simpler fix. You know what they say, ‘out of sight, out of mind’, well it works. To stop myself binging on chocolate, I need to keep it out of the house and to stop myself buying things I don’t need I have to get off those mailing lists.
Take an hour to do the good old email purge stop all those promotion emails from hitting your inbox. Either go through your inbox and trash folder and start unsubscribing, or use a service to help you out. I used Unroll.Me for the first time a few weeks ago and it’s fast, free, and simple. Basically the trifecta awesome when it comes to an online service.
Online shopping is the challenge for me, but if you’re more of an in-person shopper, you can still use similar strategies. Don’t fill your time with mindless shopping, find something more productive to do. Pick up a good book (from the library), take your dog for a walk, or start a new hobby. There are YouTube tutorials for everything you could ever dream of; I taught myself how to crochet from YouTube.
Switch to Cash
One way to stop dreading that credit card bill is to make sure you don’t get one. Making all your purchases with cash throughout the month means you’ll be in the black and can skip the whole bill part.
I don’t always advocate for a cash budget (I like those credit card rewards), but it can help to reign in your spending and make you think about where your money is going. There’s something powerful about handing over a bill as opposed to swiping a piece of plastic.
Reduce Your Existing Bills
A little bit of time and negotiation prowess can save you a ton of money in the long run. Making an annual call to your various service providers to see what kind of discounts they can offer you is well worth it. If they’re not willing to work with you on a lower rate then there’s always other companies out there who will be more than happy to take your business.
Do some research on competitors prices and know what you’re getting charged for. There’s a good chance you might be paying for services you don’t even need. Long-distance minutes you never use, TV channels you never watch, or the highest internet speed when you’d be fine with slightly slower. If you’re successful in reducing a few of your monthly bills, then you won’t dread them as much when they show up.
Glass Half Full
A little positive attitude can go a long way when it comes towards your bills. I can guarantee that as much as you hate paying for things, you would hate it a hell of a lot more if you went without. I know personally, some of my most despised bills are the ones that provide me with essential services…
- Power / Gas / Water – Paying for utilities is pretty much the worst, but how miserable would you be if you didn’t have heat, couldn’t cook dinner, or weren’t able to take a shower. Feel free to negotiate with your service providers to get yourself the very best rate. But don’t forget how important those services are when the bill arrives.
- Cell phones and wireless plans – Things are starting to change (slowly), but Canada is known for having ridiculously high rates for cell phone plans. It sucks, and I certainly don’t recommend buying the latest, greatest phone as soon as it hits the market. But let’s be honest. The cost per use on your phone is probably one of the lowest out of all your possessions. I bet I pick up my phone at least 100 times per day, either for necessity or entertainment. And that’s a complete guess; I wouldn’t be surprised if it were higher.
- Insurance – Ugh, insurance payments have to be the absolute worst right? You get nothing out of them unless something shitty happens. There’s a reason it’s illegal to not have auto insurance; nobody would ever pay for it if it weren’t the law. However, if you’ve ever been in a car accident, suffered a debilitating injury, or had a spouse pass away, you understand how essential insurance can be.
Those are just three examples of common things you likely hate paying for but wouldn’t want to live without. If you do find you have payments that you can’t put a positive spin on, then you should get rid of them if at all possible. Every dollar you spend should be on something that makes either your current or your future self happy.
Do you often feel cheated when paying your bills? What tips do you have to remove that feeling of dread?
This post was proofread by Grammarly.