First 30 Days Blog

05 nov

5 Tips for Getting Your Finances Back on Track

RobertCordrayFinances are scary, and it often doesn’t take much to find yourself in debt, spending more than you make or simply not using your money in the best way possible. Many families right now are in financial trouble due to the recent recession, and may find themselves struggling to pay off debt or make ends meet. Luckily, there are steps you can take to dig yourself out of a your financial rut, no matter how deep it may be.

1. Calculate Your Debt

Start by determining exactly where your finances lie. Stop ignoring those credit card bills or student loans, and come up with a grand total of what you owe. It can be disheartening to see a big number after doing this, but it is also the only way for you to start setting goals to pay that debt off. Set a goal for how much you would like to reduce your debt each year and then divide it up by month. Congratulate yourself for each monthly and yearly goal you make, and as you watch that number go down, you will be so pleased that you decided to take the reigns.

2. Build Emergency Savings

Most everyone has savings accounts, but they are often used as holding stations until the money is transferred into checking or used for bills. It is perfectly fine to do this, but you must also have a savings account that is for emergencies only, and no, that new pair of shoes does not count as an emergency. Make a goal to keep 10 percent of what you earn in an emergency account, and if you need to, make it incredibly difficult to get that money back out.

3. Budget

A significant portion of the population does not have any sort of budget. We often think of a budget as restrictive or difficult, but really it is a tool to keep your money under your power. Start using a free budgeting software such as mint.com or other options for keeping track of expenses. If you want to limit how much you spend on groceries, how are you supposed to do that if you don’t set a limit or monitor what you spend? Creating a budget may also require cutting some expenses. You can do this by eating out less, using student discount software on your computer or any number of things that can save you money.

4. Adjust Expectations

It can be hard to be stuck in a rental with used furniture and no TV if you grew up in a nice home with plenty of luxuries. However, you have to realize that in all likelihood, your parents didn’t start out with all of those things; they had to work many years to get them. Adjust your expectations of what you think you should be able to get out of a paycheck and what you expect from yourself. Really, it is ok you haven’t bought a house yet. Those things come with time.

5. Get Support

Finally, get some help with your goal. If you are married, get your spouse on board with a plan, and be sure to involve any children old enough to understand what is going on. Banks will often offer financial guidance, as will churches—you could even confide in a close friend who is financially savvy.


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Posted by Robert Cordray on November 5th, 2013 in Finances | 0 comments

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