Consumers always have bills to pay. What some individuals and families are focused on now is wage growth not keeping up with the pace of inflation. Some have taken on more debt in recent years. Others have dipped into savings to keep up with their most crucial bill payments.
Some consumers have taken on loans with collateral, also known as secured loans. Some with better credit have opted for unsecured personal loans, while still others are using credit cards to pay for many of their monthly expenses.
Whichever way you’re paying your bills, it might interest you to know which payments American consumers are most concerned about as we progress further into 2023.
In a recent Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, American consumers mentioned that they were more concerned about paying their food bills than anything else. Many cited the prices of specific food items that have increased recently.
The grocery store is usually where Americans notice sharp price increases. Because of that, it’s not surprising that many expressed frustration over having to pay more for the same food staples that cost less not that long ago.
2. Medical Care
Some individuals have healthcare plans through their work. Those that do often still have to pay hefty copays when they seek medical care, though. Those who are self-employed must pay for healthcare plans on their own, and that’s expensive.
The cost of virtually all medical procedures and many medications seem to keep going up. It’s unlikely that will change anytime soon, since America appears in no hurry to implement a universal healthcare system.
Paying more when gassing up the car was another concern for many American consumers. Higher gas prices mean it costs more to drive to and from work. Taking care of various errands costs more as well.
This concern is at least starting to be mitigated by one change in automotive technology. In recent years, more individuals than ever have been driving hybrid cars and electric vehicles. Those that do are finding some relief because they’re paying less for gas, or they’re no longer paying for gas at all in the case of EVs. It seems likely this trend will continue.
4. Rent and Mortgage Payments
Rent and mortgage payments are additional expenses on American consumers’ minds. Last year, more of them expressed concerns about their possible inability to keep up with the monthly rent on their apartments or mortgage payments for homeowners.
Renters seem disproportionately more worried about payments than homeowners were about mortgage payments. The number of individuals belonging to both groups who feel nervous about future payments is going up, though.
How Can You Pay These Bills?
There are no simple answers to these concerns, but certain actions are possible. Consumers can ask for raises at work. If those are not forthcoming, they can update their resumes and look for better-paying jobs within their fields. They can take on second jobs in some instances.
They can purchase generic food products at the grocery store, should that be necessary. They can also buy bulk food items, saving themselves money that way.
The next vehicle they get can be either a hybrid or an electric car. Since more companies keep coming out with hybrid models and EVs, used ones are also becoming available. These are more affordable and attractive options for consumers who can’t afford brand-new vehicles.
There are also unsecured personal loans available from lending entities and secured loans where you put up something valuable as collateral. Credit cards are another way to pay monthly bills. You should avoid that unless it’s necessary, though, due to the high interest rates these cards usually charge.
While rising costs can be frustrating, consumers have options that can help alleviate some of the stress they might be experiencing.
Name: Keyonda Goosby
Job Title: Consultant
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