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Navigating the Budget Crunch: Tips for Bills and Rising Costs


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August 06, 2023

As we head into the back half of the year, a lot of people are having to adjust to the new normal for spending. Inflation has come off of the decades high of over 9% a little over a year ago but prices are still 4% higher than they were at the same time last year. Though, it appears that the cooling of inflation is a good thing, the average person is still feeling the pain of higher monthly outlays. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help as people prepare for the back half of the year.

1. Pay off credit card debt and don't use credit cards if they can't be paid off each month.

Interest rates have jumped in the past year and anyone who is carrying a balance has seen their interest rate double in the past year. Credit Card balances have hit an all time high and the people who carry balances will be crushed by the compounding debt. Of all the credit cards that are used, over 50% carry a balance month over month. The average credit card is carrying a balance of $7000. Pay of credit cards and avoid using them for every day expenses.

2. Create a budget for the holiday season.

Too many people are surprised by this, but Christmas comes every December. There are 5-6 months to plan and prepare for the holiday. Create a budget for the loved ones and stick to it. Utilize the Back-To-School sales and tax holiday or even Amazon Prime Day to take advantage of some deals that can sit in the closet until December. Like the previous tip advised, avoid piling on credit card debt during the holidays.

3. Cut monthly expenses with a few minor adjustments.

If the water bill seems higher this time of year, that is because municipalities are seeing their costs rise. Water rates have almost doubled in the past 10 years. Electricity is also becoming more expensive.

To reduce your Water Bill, try these tips:

  • Take shorter showers
  • Don't shave or brush teeth with water running
  • Check for leaks in sinks, tubs and toilets.
  • Scrape off solid food but don't rinse dishes before loading dishwasher (most modern washers can handle non-solid food particles really well)
  • Only run the dishwasher or clothes washer when full.
  • Instead of sprinklers, direct water to the specific plants.
  • Mulch around trees and flower beds to hold moisture in.
  • Deep soak the lawn during mornings or evenings so there is less evaporation.
  • Plant drought resistance plants, ask a local gardener and they will advise well.

To reduce your Electricity Bill, try these tips:

  • Install motion sensor light switches
  • Turn off A/C or turn up air when out of the house for more than 1 hour.
  • Use Ceiling Fans or box fans for air flow instead of A/C.
  • Replace air filters
  • Put a timer on Electric Water tank to turn on during usage times.
  • Replace high cost light bulbs with lower cost LEDs.
  • Unplug "vampire devices" like coffee makers or toasters that use energy
  • Check Weather stripping and insulation for efficiency.

4. Create a Long Term Plan

As Ben Franklin famously said, "If you Fail to Plan, you are planning to fail." Create a long term plan for financial success. Have a vision for what the future holds and ensure that there are steps to success. Get with a qualified financial advisor to create these plans and implement them.


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About the author

Brian Watson

Brian Watson

Vice President, Private CFO®

Brian is a true Atlanta native and graduated from Walton High School. He got his Bachelor's degree in Business from Samford University in Birmingham, AL and then his Master's degree from Beeson Divinity. He is blessed to be married to his best friend, Jen, and they have 4 amazing kids (age range 7-13). He is active in his community by serving as a deacon at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and helps lead their Children's Worship Service called Kid's Church. He is a baseball and soccer coach each season through the Upward sports program and even serves on the board for his kid's school, East Cobb Christian School. And if there is ever any free time from all this, he likes to run with his dog or sit on the back deck with friends/family or just read a good book.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. Investor Disclosures: https://bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. https://Bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

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