Often when we talk about mitigating financial disasters, we talk about budgeting by cutting back on non-essential needs. We think about going without things like Netflix, meals out, and all those other luxuries we love to splash the cash on. And, for the most part, cutting these additions when disaster strikes is more than enough to see us through.
Sometimes, though, financial threats require more for survival than saving the odd $50, as the significant financial losses of 2020 so far have taught us. In fact, when we’re in the midst of an economic crisis on both a national and personal level, we must ask the question – what does a non-negotiable expense actually look like?
Of course, we know what these are on paper. Things like food, rent, and insurance certainly can’t fall by the wayside altogether. But, does that mean we can never reconsider these when trying to get our budgets back in order? Perhaps not.
The reality is that these are our most substantial expenditures and, thus, have more power than any entertainment subscription for helping us stay on our feet. With that in mind, ask yourself – how can you negotiate on non-negotiable expenses without unraveling them entirely?
Look for cheaper deals
While you can’t completely cut these costs, it is worth asking whether you could get a better deal. Too often, we jump into things like insurance without shopping around. Anything for an easy life, right? Until we experience financial trouble, at least, and then that monthly payment doesn’t seem like such a small deal.
The good news is that, with online capabilities and comparisons sites, etc., it’s now easier than ever to check for the best possible deals on everything from your health insurance to your car payments and beyond. You could even take this further by contacting your old provider, who is sure to offer even more significant discounts so that they can keep you on their books.
Look into delayed payments
While it isn’t a decision you should take lightly, you could also see about delaying essential payments when you’re in real trouble. This does bring the downside of increasing interest, etc., but it can still buy you time during difficult periods.
Most often, payment delays or ‘holidays,’ are relevant for things like car or finance payments. Recent events have also led to questions about whether US mortgage brokers will follow Italy and the UK by offering mortgage holidays. And, so long as you’re sure you can weather those increased interest rates and longer loans, this could be the ideal solution. As simple as that, you can put non-negotiable payments to the side until you’re in a better financial situation to handle them.
Consider whether you could still cut back
Even if a payment is non-negotiable, it doesn’t mean you can’t cut back when times are tough. While this might not be possible for things like rental payments, thinking about practical ways to cut costs on food, electricity, etc. could still help. Simply buying own-brand foods or just trying to turn off lights could see your all-important costs dropping. This still might not be enough to overhaul your budget, but they do say that every little helps. You should certainly find that, by cutting costs like these across your essentials board, you’re better able to pick yourself up sooner than you would by thinking these expenses are set in stone.
Ask whether those costs are really so important?
Lastly, ask yourself whether the expenses that fall into your personal ‘non-negotiable’ list are really so important. Too often, we keep paying for things we can’t afford because we can’t imagine our lives without them. But, that alone doesn’t make something essential.
Obviously, there are things that you simply can’t skip, but cutting something like those treats in your food shop isn’t going to kill you. If times are incredibly tough, you might even find that cutting things like fuel and vehicle costs by using public transport for a few months isn’t half as much of a hardship as you’ve always imagined it would be.
Delving into the realm of saving across your non-negotiable expenses can be daunting. But, as you can see here, there’s far more room for flexibility and, you guessed it, negotiation than you might imagine. So, when times are tough, don’t think these expenses are above a little consideration. You might just find that thinking about ways to save here, too, can save your budget once and for all.