Sunday, August 9, 2009

Getting your Finances under Control

So, what have changes have you made in the past few weeks? Simple ones, or life changing?

A few weeks ago I decided to work on health, weight, and body image issues. I have increased my daily exercise (although, I am not a fan of this), by walking more with my son. I have also done much more work in the yard than I had in the past few months. The garden had gotten out of control, my flowers were becoming overgrown and crowded, etc. So, I have really tried to focus on some issues that require me to be active. My goal is to continue to increase this activity daily. This week I am going to add a short walk down the block at my office. Now, this may not sound like much, but realistically if I commit to exercise 20 minutes, twice a day, it is likely I will quit. I think that is the key. Add small steps that are obtainable.

Another area I really wanted to focus on was getting my finances under control. That seems nearly impossible in this economy, right? Well a few simple steps can go a long way-
1. No frivolous spending- take my lunch instead of eating out, give up the cafe mocha every morning and only splurge once a week, no credit cards

Unfortunately our family has hit some tough times because my husband had been laid off for several months. Then once he was called back to work, he was injured. This makes things a little bit tougher, but I am determined to stay the course and make these changes.

If you are in over your head with credit card debt, there are some reliable and safe measures you can take.

First, cut up those cards. If you must have one, just keep one. Only for emergencies.
Second, look into some debt relief programs that can help you consolidate your debt and cut down on the interest. I am currently investigating the options available and will get back to you on some choices that may be helpful.
Third, write out your budget. Make sure you know exactly what you can pay each month on specific bills, and focus on those areas. For example, if you know that 200.00 month (which I think is super high) for the power bill is what you can realistically pay- then try to keep the power at that range. - How? do laundry twice a week instead of 4 times, shut lights off, change the a/c setting, shut off tv's, etc. Make a concentrated effort in those areas.

One thing that always creeps up on me is the debit card. I rarely carry cash, but I also do not track my debit expenses. If you are going to use the debit card, write down what you spend. Keep track of it closely. One bounced check or ISF can cost you 50.00 and raise your interest rates if you bounce it on a debt payment.

Over the course of the next few weeks, my focus will remain on the finances. I am a long way from satisfied with my debt/credit ratios, and I intend to work diligently to get these matters under control. I will share with you the measures I take to find some peace in this area.

One thing I want to remind everyone, is that worrying and crying over these issues is not going to help. In fact it is going to make it worse as you are eventually going to accept defeat and give up. That is not an option. There are solutions and we just need to find them through investigation, commitment and sharing.

If you have some tips or tricks you would like to share, please comment. Everyone here can feel free to talk openly and we are all grateful for any tidbit that gets passed our way.

So, stand firm this week and stick to your plans for a New You.

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