Moving out into your own apartment in Los Angeles is exciting. Whether you just got your own place or you’re moving out for the first time, you’re going to have a big financial responsibility on your hands. Most people are unaware of the financial burden of living on their own, especially in a pricey area like LA. Regardless of how comfortable your budget is right now, there are some ways you can ruin your budget. These five tips will help you avoid those budget woes and stay on track each month.
Pay Bills Before They’re Due
Don’t be late if you can. Late fees can add up and really hurt your budget. If you find yourself paying bills past their due date, make a habit of setting bill reminders — or have the bills automatically deduct from your account. If you can, pay the bills a few days before they’re due to make sure your account is credited and everything is processed.
Pay More on Credit Cards When You Can
If you have a credit card balance, pay extra when you can. Interest can really eat up your payments — making your balance stay almost the same. If you have the extra funds, put them on your credit cards first. The faster you pay off your credit card debt the faster you can add those monthly payments back into your budget.
Just Say No to Credit Cards
Credit cards are just a bad idea all around. Even if you owned a home, you should avoid credit cards. With rising interest, fees and late payments, it is easy to get in over your head. Avoid using your credit cards. If you want to buy something but don’t have the cash, wait until you do. Then, leave the credit cards for emergencies only.
Always Be Prepared
You should always be prepared for an emergency. That means putting ample money into your savings just in case you get sick, have to miss a few days of work, etc. As the year goes on in your new apartment, you’re going to have costs. Perhaps you need to buy a new couch or maybe your car got a flat tire. By having money in your savings you can handle these expenses without eating nothing but ramen for the week.
Know When to Ask for Help
Everyone gets in over their head every now and then. If you notice you’re struggling to pay your bills or make rent, talk to your property manager. Some offer late payment forgiveness or may let you out of your lease due to financial hardship. Turn to family and friends when you’re in dire situations. The faster you tackle a financial problem — and keep it from turning into serious debt — the better for your credit score and financial future.