A plethora of people use the first sign of the season as a hint to start with the cleaning process, making room for new stuff.
You should apply the same logic to your finances. As you are in the thought process of organizing, minimizing, and cleaning out the old, you can take advantage of this mood as it links to your debt. Gift yourself a money makeover and unclutter your financial life by shedding lasting debt while adapting new positive financial habits. Follow these steps to make a difference:
A vital part of getting your finances in shape while paying down debt is putting them in order. You can begin by taking an honest and practical look at where you stand in financial terms and what exactly you owe.
Perform debt evaluation.
- Enlist your outstanding consumer debts. (Do not include mortgage, car loan, credit cards, personal loans, student loans, etc.)
- Note the total amount due for every debt with the interest rate.
- Total your consumer debts, excluding your mortgage.
- See the minimum payment for every debt and determine the time duration to pay off the debt by making only minimum payments.
Time for budget evaluation.
- Prepare a list of all of your non-consumer bills for the month, including cable, utilities, pet expenses, groceries, internet, gas and transportation, gym membership, cell phone, Netflix, etc.
- Using your bank or credit card statements, tally your spendings on things like snacks, eating out, entertainment, clothes, and other miscellaneous items. Don’t forget to add movies, happy hours, salon visits, trips, and hobbies.
- Categorize all the non-essential expenses based on how you spent your money. For instance, your categories could be grooming, dining out, entertainment, clothes, hobbies, etc.
Once you complete writing down and sorting out, it’s time to play a game of what if. Look at the grand total of what you owe and see what budget is being devoted to the consumer debt. If it crosses the mark of 30 percent, then you seriously need to bring that percentage down.
– How much will it be possible for you to save in six months if there is no consumer debt?
– What if your debt is half of what it is now?
– What if you have zero consumer debt? Would it be life-changing for you?
In the end, look at all of the non-essential things that are leeching on your money, such as dining out, needless shopping, etc. Select one or two of those categories to see how much could be saved by eliminating that expense. For instance, if you stop going out to eat for a month and maybe give yourself a manicure-pedicure in lieu of paying for it? How much money could you free up?
The primary objective of this whole exercise is for you to take responsibility to carefully manage your money and also keep its track. It is also to make you see the opportunity costs. If you change only a few main things, you could easily terminate your debt and also change or improve your financial future.
Make a Debt Reduction Plan
Debt Reduction Planning
Now that you have dealt with the sorting of your finances and playing what if, it’s time to free yourself from the avoidable expenses. The convenient way to do this is via the debt snowball method. With the help of this method, you can simply enlist your debts, starting from the largest to smallest. You then insistently work to pay off your debt with the lowest balance first, while handling the minimum payments on the other debts. Once your first debt is paid off, you shift to the next smallest debt. Rinse and repeat.
Winning is inspiring. Pretty simple, right?
The difficult part of debt repayment is finding the needed money in your budget for applying to your debt. And this can be a hard call when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. Check your list of expenses to see what things you can avoid and where you can scale back.
Plan for something fun
If you are following the things listed above, then it is important that you also plan something fun for yourself. Trust us, you’ll definitely need it.
Time to time while following the process of debt repayment, you’ll be needing something for celebrating the progress of your plan. It should be something you truly enjoy and can pay for it with cash.
Plan a trip, go shoe shopping (budget-friendly), or book an appointment at a reasonably priced spa. You shouldn’t try to take this pause as a waste of money. The main goal of this exercise is to practice your spending habit in a more controlled manner on those things that portray meaning for you, and most significantly, that you can actually afford.
Taking such breaks will strengthen your relationship with your wealth in a healthy and productive manner. Money is an expensive tool which is why it should be handled wisely. Use your power of purchasing to meet your needs and a few reasonable wants.
Managing financial strength is a tough emotional and mental activity. By following these steps, you’ll be forced to face your spending choices while dealing with your relation to the materialistic things. This whole process will guide you to hold yourself responsible and fix you up for a thriving start to your debt reduction plan.