You have to get out there and get your feet wet in order to fix what isn't working.
How do you know you have money problems?
Have you ever said any of the following statements to yourself or others?
And there are several additional statements that indicate you could be heading for a crash and burn financially.
- I charged it because we don't have the money right now.
- I'll pay it off later.
- When X happens, we'll start paying off our debt.
- If I juggle a few things, we'll be okay for now.
- If I wait until the last minute to mail the bills, we might not overdraw our checking.
- I don't know how much we owe.
- I don't know how much we have in our checking right now.
- I don't know what the interest rates are on our debt.
- I don't know my net worth.
- You can't turn down a deal like that.
- It's zero percent interest for a year, so it doesn't cost us anything to charge it.
I realize that everyone says it. But they say it because it is the essense of managing your money and saving for your future -- you have to pay off your debt.
Sit down and write down every debt you owe. Be honest. Include every debt right down to the penny. Write the total amount, monthly payments and interest rate. Try to list these in order from highest interest rate to lowest interest rates.
In order to save yourself the most money in interest charges, you are going to pay off the highest interest rates first. These are usually your credit cards.
Make a promise that you will not take on any additional debt until you are debt-free. And by then, you won't want to.
That means no more credit card spending. No new car loans. No new signature loans. No new store cards. In fact, the only things in your wallet should be your driver's license, your checkbook or debit card and your insurance cards. No credit cards for any reason. Lock them up where you can't easily access them.
You will need to form a family budget and plan of action as to how you will pay off that debt. I'm not going to say that things are going to get easier soon. But they will get easier.
All it takes is time, commitment and an eye on the future. Sit down and calculate how much in savings you would have if all of your debt payments went to you and not some bank somewhere. That should encourage you to get those debts paid off early and start paying someone more important -- you.
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