A personal financial makeover can help you manage your money more responsibly and reduce your debt burden. Try the following tips provided by The Balancing Act to help you save money:
Take inventory. Put together a very detailed and precise spreadsheet of your debts. Include not only the current balances, but also interest rates and due dates.
Create a budget. Once you know where you stand and how much you owe, it will be easier to develop a budget you can actually live with. How much income do you have? What can you afford to set aside to pay down your debts? You’ll also need to put together a history of your reoccurring expenses, like food, gas and utility bills, so you can estimate their impact moving forward.
Consider cash flow. Be sure to factor in when bills are due and at what point you’ll have cash available to pay each debt. This is one of the most important, yet often overlooked, parts of the budgeting process. Planning helps you avoid paying late fees and harming your credit score.
Develop a credit card strategy. The most effective way to reduce credit card debt is to pay off the card with the highest balance first. Make a plan to pay more on that card each month until it is paid off, then go to the card with the next highest interest rate and apply more money to that one.
Use cash. If not managed properly, credit cards will only add to your debt. Instead of using them, stick to your budget and pay for everything with either cash or your bank card. Save the credit card for emergencies, not spontaneous purchases!
Take care of yourself. Living a full, happy life requires balance. Don’t make a habit of splurging, but treating yourself to an occasional spa day or vacation can help you stay relaxed and refreshed.
Be honest. Just like cheating on a diet defeats the whole purpose, telling yourself that it’s okay to blow your budget doesn’t work either. There will always be an excuse or emergency that will get in your way, so be honest with yourself and avoid unnecessary, excessive expenditures.
The next step? Enjoy the new you! Once you’ve completed your personal finance makeover, you’ll feel more secure, confident and in control.