Taking back control of your money is not as difficult as it appears. It just takes a little discipline and planning. Here are my top ten ways to gain clarity around your money and step away from the edge of financial disaster.
1. Just for today - no new debt! You cannot turn your financial situation around if you keep adding to your debt. Hold off on a purchase until you have the funds available. Can you do without it? It is need or just a want?
2. Save money every week - even it is only $1. You must get into the habit of saving something every week. While $1 may not seem worth it the effort, eventually as you gain control of your money, you can increase the amount you can save each week and avoid diving deeper into debt.
3. Never let your checking account fall below a certain amount, say $50. This is to insure that you will not overdraw the account and be socked with ISF fees, furthering your money troubles.
4. Track all income and expenses. You have to know what amounts you are working with.
5. Create a "Money For Me" account. Whatever expenses you can eliminate or reduce goes into your MFM account. At the end of the month, you can decide how to use that money. You can spend it, save it, or apply it your debt.
6. Shop with cash - withdraw money weekly. When shopping with cash you can see exactly how much you have to spend and when it's gone, it's gone! Cash will help you to be more conservative with your money.
7. Check account balances daily. You must become intimate with your finances by checking your balances against items that have cleared. Knowing where you stand daily will help you to avoid costly mistakes!
8. Have a weekly money meeting with your spouse to go over the budget for the week ahead. You both need to be on the same page, knowing exactly where you stand.
9. Consider bills as "Invoices for Blessings Already Received". I learned this from Kate Northrup's book, Money: A Love Story. Looking at your bills in this way will help shift your mindset. Focusing on your bills with poverty
thinking will just create more of the same, for what you focus on grows! Your creditors extended credit to you in good faith and you received the benefits from it. So be thankful for those blessings as you work your way out of debt.
10. Consider financial responsibility as a form of self-care. Being responsible with your money is indeed taking care of yourself. You are paying your bills on time. Your savings are growing. You are decreasing your debt. Being responsible means less worry and stress and who doesn't need more of that?
Tracy Lee xx
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