During tough times it may be hard to imagine a secure financial future. However, it’s during these times that getting control of your finances is essential to sustaining wealth in the future. It’s the decisions you make now that will have an impact on the outcome. Listed below are a few tips for tipping the tables to your benefit.
The Curse of Debt
For some, debt is a curse. It’s something that prevents them from enjoying life. A pile of bills on a table with no money to pay them causes stress overload, leaving you with an abundance of anxiety. While debt is something easy to create, it’s much harder to dispose of.
Getting on Even Ground
To achieve your goals of a sound financial future, you need to pay your bills on time. If you are even one month in the rears this can be a difficult task. Thankfully, even if your credit is less than desirable, some lenders can provide you with a quick personal loan to get you current with your monthly payments.
Once you have your debt current, it’s time to tackle it head-on. There are several ways to begin the process. Mortgage and car payments help you maintain a healthy credit rating. However, excessive credit card debt can lower your score significantly, especially if you are at or near your credit limit. Reducing this type of debt is essential not only for financial freedom but also to achieve financial wealth. Some experts suggest starting with the credit card that has the lowest interest rate, while others recommend taking the one with the lowest balance to make it easier to pay them off and free up money. Whichever route you choose will lead to the same outcome, credit card debt-free.
A Hard Look at Your Spending Habits
One of the most difficult tasks in achieving financial wealth is taking a good hard look at how you spend money. In many cases, bad habits such as daily stops for specialty coffees, going out to lunch, and eating take-out for dinner a few times a week prevent savings. For others, it’s the unwillingness to hold off on extravagant purchases like a new car or a fur coat, until you have the money to pay for it in cash. Establishing a household budget will open your eyes to exactly where your money goes and the amount of money you spend monthly.
Once you have a clear view of where you spend your money, it’s up to you to stop it. This doesn’t mean that you have to do without. It means quite the opposite. Think for a minute about how much that new gaming system really costs when you put it in a card. If you pay only the minimum required payment, it can take years, not months, to pay it off. This means that you will have a payment due each month with compounded interest. By the time you own it, you’ll pay two to three times more than the sticker price. A better approach is to save up for it. There are several benefits to saving up for something. First, the obvious: you own it outright and save on future payments or added interest. Another benefit is that you learn how to save money, a necessary tool to achieve a secure financial future.
Having excessive debt prevents you from enjoying life. It limits your ability to go on a real vacation or to afford a new car. Having money problems also creates an abundance of stress that can lead to severe depression. Make this the year that you create a plan to reduce your debt and become responsible with your money.