Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Living Within Your Means - Sometimes Tougher Than It Seems

In today's society, many families find themselves struggling to live within their means, either because they have too much debt, or because their spending habits/patterns are uncontrolled and they simply don't know how to change. Here are some quick tips on reigning in that spending, and keeping yourself debt-free:

1. Don't use credit cards. If you have credit card debt and are carrying large payments at high interest that are crippling your budget, talk to a community credit debt counselor. There are many groups that offer this service for free. They'll help you to understand how the debt can be cut down faster, and whether a consolidation loan is a good idea. Credit cards are a temptation to spend money you don't have. If you must have one card, leave it in the care of the person most responsible for your family's financial health, and never use it except for emergencies that can be paid off within a short time.

2. Budget your money and expenses. Even a simple budget in a notebook will work, or you can go to a spreadsheet on the computer. Gather all your bills, and calculate your monthly expenses, remembering to include a 1/12 portion of any annual expenses. Then take your gross income and figure out how much has to be set aside per week for absolute essentials. Whatever remains, is what you have for optional spending like savings, education or retirement funds, and entertainment.

3. Before you buy, ask yourself if you really need it. That could be anything from a new stereo system, to a new car. Ask yourself if it's worth going into debt for, or just how far it will stretch the family budget. Remember that you need room in your family finances for emergencies, and stretching your discretionary dollars to the limit, is never a good idea.

1 comment:

ALEISH said...

Thanks for the tips!

The key to credit problem is discipline. Be punctual , pay your bill on time because late payments, collections, and bankruptcies have a big negative impact on your credit score.

If you have credit problems and want to rebuild your credit, here is the list of lenders that approves bad credit cards and bad credit loans.