Being bound by debt is a form of modern-day slavery in which a person acquires so much debt that they feel like they are chained to a large cement ball. You have seen the cartoons, but when you experience it for real, it isn’t funny. Too much debt equals too much weight. Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to have the weight lifted? You can lift this weight with help.
First, you just have to be willing to admit how you got in the situation and be able to forgive yourself and move on. Second, you must be willing to learn from your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions. And, third, you must learn to budget your finances and learn how to live within your means.
Everyone wants the big house, nice car and loads of other “stuff” that they really don’t need. You need to realize that your home or your car does not define you. You and your actions define you. For those that have experienced a natural disaster, such as a flood, tornado or hurricane, and lost the majority or all of their belongings, they realize that it is all just “stuff”. “Stuff” can be replaced, but your life cannot. Is there really a difference in losing everything you have worked hard for through a natural disaster as compared to divorce, foreclosure or repossession? I think not. Loss is loss no matter how you look at it.
Here are some steps to help you start on your budget process.
- Sit down and make a commitment to budget.
- Take out a piece of paper or open a spreadsheet on your computer.
- Determine your monthly income and write it at the top. This should be your monthly income, less any child support or alimony you receive. You want to be able to support yourself, if you can, on your salary. Many times our ex-spouse will stop paying, so you want to be able to afford your lifestyle on your own.
- Put titles across the top of Amount Owed, Monthly Payment, and Date Due. On the side of the paper, list the creditors, banks and any other institutions you owe money to. You will also want to list your monthly expenses, such as groceries, gas, utilities, and daycare.
- Next, fill in the information for each creditor. It is best to put them in due date order.
- Total the amounts owed for the month.
- Deduct the Monthly Payment column from the monthly income and the remaining funds will be what you have additional for the month.
If your monthly income is less than your expenses, then you will need to make adjustments. Take a good look at what you are spending money on. Can you do without certain items from the grocery store? Switch to generic brands? Could you share a ride with someone to work? Do you really need all of those cable channels? You will also want to contact your credit card companies and ask them to lower the interest rates. Many people are afraid to ask these companies for fear of rejection. If they don’t change the interest rate you are no better off than you were before, so ask. Contact your cell phone carrier to see if there is a way to lower your plan. Getting out of debt is not an overnight process. Those little things that you do will go a long way.
If you need assistance with your finances, I offer personal coaching in this and other areas. Contact me today!