With a new year comes new goals. And although it is important to want to be a healthier person, it is also important to make some financial resolutions.
If you could make your financial situation better, would you? Of course, the answer is yes. The problem is, though, that many do not realize the solution is right under their nose. You might feel that without more income, you cannot resolve your bills. But, that is not necessarily the case. When we want to shed weight, we go on a diet and create a plan to do so. The same goes for your debt. Creating a well thought-out budget can do wonders for your debt. Lose some pounds on your bills and put your debt on a diet by eliminating some unnecessary expenses.
What to do first for your financial resolutions
It’s great to make goals, but not if you don’t follow through. Kick-start your financial resolutions by writing down a plan. With pen and paper (or your favorite spreadsheet program), determine how much income you actually have available. List your net income; money you get after taxes, insurance costs, and any other expenses related to automatic payroll deductions. Include any and all income resources, such as child support, rent, investments, and so on. In this initial organization process, note when and how often you are paid. It’s important to record and know how much you are making each month.
Then, start documenting expenses
Naturally, after recording your income, it is time to start writing down all of your expenses. This list should include your rent, all utilities, groceries, vehicle or transportation costs, and even entertainment. For loans and credit cards, you’ll record the interest rates. Add in the due dates and frequency, and update regularly. Over the following weeks, track your activities and incorporate anything you may have previously missed. Now that you know where your money is going, it’s time to cut some costs from your life.
Up next: Eliminating expenses
When we really start digging in, where to cut expenses becomes a little more obvious. One place to start is with your insurance premiums. Look into cheaper plans or see if you can consolidate your automotive and home insurance.
In addition to consolidating your insurance plans, check with your bank and credit card carriers to see if you can refinance or combine or high interest loans with lower interest rates.
If you have a habit of impulse shopping, now is as good a time as any to break it. To do this, you can make a list of everything you actually need and tell yourself to stick to it. Another helpful tip to avoid overspending is to always carry cash on you.
Save money on gas by carpooling or utilizing public transportation a few times a week. Also, be conscious of your energy use to reduce your utility bills. Turn off lights, unplug appliances when not in use and don’t waste water while brushing your teeth or doing the dishes.
There are many ways to save even more money, like indulging in low-cost or even free entertainment. It will take sacrifice, consistency and some creativity, but it will all be worth it.
Evaluate your extra income and begin to pay off debts
After you’ve added up your totals for both money out and in, along with reduced unnecessary expenses, you’ve got to subtract your remaining expenses from your income. This will show you how much extra income you have to put towards your debt.
If you still do not have any extra income even after cutting costs, you may have to consider getting a part-time job or incorporate some other source of revenue until your situations improves. There are some multi-level marketing jobs that seem practical that are not scams you could even try.
Another way to make some extra cash would be to sell items you no longer need or use. When you do generate additional money, immediately apply it to bills with the highest interest rates and pay more than the minimum balance. Making more than one payment a month helps to eliminate the debt faster as well. As you begin to pay off debts, use the money to continue to pay off more debt, continuing with the concept of knocking out the ones with the highest interest.
As you put your debt on a diet and focus on your financial resolutions in 2017, be sure to be realistic about your budget. Don’t make it so strict that you have a hard time getting ahead. Your budget should include emergency savings, but don’t be afraid to enjoy your money from time to time on occasional pleasures. It’s all about spending wisely and keeping your money goals at the top of your mind.
Do you have financial resolutions for the New Year? What are they?