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7 Proven Steps to Fix Your Personal Finances That You Can Implement Right Now
Fixing your personal finances is not rocket science. You can do it if you apply some commitment and are prepared to stick to the plan. Imagine how your world could open up if you were debt free. Imagine all the options. Quit your job, work fewer hours, have more holidays or just help others.
The proven methods listed below will work for you if you are determined to succeed and implement them in your own circumstances.
Step 1. Imagine how good life will be once the debt is paid.
Imagine for a minute how good life would be to if you were debt free. Think what you could do with the money you currently use to pay off those credits cards. You could use it to save for your future, save for your retirement, hit the sales with a clear conscience, go on holidays or save for your children's college education. Think on this often and visualize in your mind's eye how your life would change for the better once the debt was gone. If you seriously want this to happen to you it will be easier to follow the next steps.
Step 2. Do a budget.
Unless you know what your financial position is currently you won't know what targets to set, will you. Agreed? Good. The best, most simple way to do this is to set up a personal or family budget. A lot of people stop here and don't progress any further. Bad idea! This can be done very simply. Just follow the points listed below:
a) Get out your latest credit card statements. Add up all the unpaid balances.
b) If there are any other unpaid debts (not home or car) include these balances as well.
c) Calculate your (or family) monthly income - just the amount brought home each month.
d) Calculate your monthly spending. Work out where all the money goes. Don't leave any thing out.
e) Take the monthly spending total away from the monthly income total and review the answer.
Are you living beyond your means? Are you spending more than you earn each month? Are you putting any money aside for emergencies or saving to replace costly items such as the car or some major electrical appliances? Do you have any money left over to increase your monthly credit card payments? Set your self a goal of paying off your credit cards within a certain time.
The questions raised here can be addressed by putting Steps 3-7 into practice.
Step 3. Live within your means.
You can never get your finances under control if you continue to live beyond your means. The cost of living this way is the interest charged by the credit card provider. This is one of the major reasons you are suffering now. Commit yourself to live within your means. Once you have done the budget as outlined in Step 2 you can easily see what you have available to spend.
Step 4. Cut up your credit cards. (Well, maybe keep 1 for emergencies, if you have to.)
It is really important not to add more debt. Read that again. If you can live within your means, you can cut up your credit cards and focus on paying off the credit card balance as soon as possible. You may have items around the house that can be sold. Maybe a second car that is not a necessity. Sell these things and use the funds to pay down the credit card balances. Take on some extra hours at work, think of ways to earn extra income so that these extra funds can be applied to those credit card balances.
Step 5. Find bargains - have fun.
If this whole process becomes a drudgery then it will all become too hard and you won't keep going. Don't let this happen! Set some money aside so that you can, occasionally, buy those things you want. Learn how to only buy things you need and ensure they are at the cheapest price possible. Here are some hints that will help:
a) Look for sale items
b) Don't buy on impulse
c) Only use free cash funds to buy - not by credit card
d) Ask yourself "Do I really need this?" twice or three times before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
e) If there is something you really want - wait for it to go on sale.
f) Don't buy your items at the height of the fashion or the fad, wait a few weeks.
Step 6. Set aside a savings amount.
A target of 20% of your take-home salary is recommended. However, saving any of your salary is a good start. Set your goal and stick to it. The idea is to match your lifestyle to your income. Having some savings can help in emergencies, pay a larger deposit on your next car or be the beginnings of your holiday or retirement nest egg.
Step 7. Don't compare yourself with others.
Your task of living within your means will be made easier if you don't compare your lifestyle with others. You don't know, but their finances may be in a worse state than yours. If you want a better lifestyle, then save for it and/or work out ways to increase your income.
These are just the very beginning steps that you can take towards getting your finances in shape. With a little commitment and the right tools, you will succeed.
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