There are some guarantees in life that the average person can always rely on. One is that the weight will get put on easier than it comes off and two is that money goes out just as fast or faster as it comes in.
While the weight issue needs to be addressed on an individual basis, there is a fix for the financial issue that can help your family become financially secure. Following these five basic steps will lead you to financial stability for your family.
- Create a budget template
Yes, you have probably heard this a million times, but stubbornly you insist on continuing the way you have been going about your finances. Even Today suggests creating a budget as a priority to financial stability, but how do you do it?
To begin with, you need to determine what kind of format works for you. If you are a paper person, any electronic budgeting ideas are going to be a waste of time. You will start them and then quickly discard them as not working. If you are an electronic person, do some research and find an app or program that works for you. Whichever way you prefer, there is a method out there that will appeal to you. No, the in-your-head method you’ve been using does not count.
- Be thorough
Be honest with yourself. List every bill you have, whether it is recurring or has an end date, what the total amount due is, and how much interest you are paying if any. Include all discretionary items that you purchase regularly – clothes, food, cigarettes, your impulse purchases that you know you are always tempted to make. If you do not include everything, your budget is not going to work. A good way to do this is to print out your bank statements for the past two months and itemize each transaction into categories such as Monthly Bills, Groceries, Dining Out, Impulse Purchases, Gas, etc.
- Take control
Once you have laid out your bills and your spending habits and patterns, take control of what is there. Are you amazed at how much you spent dining out last month? Would that amount that you spent have paid off any of your lower credit cards or recurring monthly bills? If so, try to control that spending. Take that same amount next month and apply it to your smaller credit cards or a bill that is almost paid off. It’s a snowball effect – the more you spend, the faster your debt increases. The more you pay to your debt, the faster it is paid off.
- Do some research
Once your credit cards and bills are laid out bare in front of you, it’s easier to see where the problem areas are. Are some of your credit card interest rates unbelievably high, while others are low but have your lower balances on them? A little bit of research into ways to pay off those high credit cards or consolidate multiple payments into one can help you get them paid off faster. Many places offer quick approval for unsecured loans that may have a higher monthly payment but a lower interest rate and shorter repayment time period. In the long run, this will save you money and make you more financially secure.
- Open a savings account
Check with your local bank or credit union to see where you can open an account with no monthly payments. There are many programs available that will round up your debit card spending to the next dollar and then take that amount and apply it to your savings account. You will quickly see the money add up without having to deposit more than your initial investment, but adding more is always a good move.
With these five steps started, your family’s financial security is just around the corner!