So how do we keep it all together. There are ways to work out what it is that you want to accomplish in our life. Journalling. I know it is not a new concept. Writing down things help you look at how you are planning your life. You are putting down the blueprints to your life and your life's journey. It will help with spending habits, eating habits, exercise or the lack there of, etc..
Let's deal with finances first. As stated before you need to see what you are spending money on. For one week write it all down (every last bit of change that goes out of your pocket-tips included). Then add it up.
While you are writing down in one column what you are spending gather up all your credit card bills, mortgage or rent payments, cell phone, cable, internet, land line, gasoline, electric, gas, life insurance, car payment, college loans, car insurance, property taxes, home owners insurance, renters insurance, and any other monthly bill that you pay out.Do not forget to include food, clothing and entertainment.
In another column write down your income for the month.If you are spending more than you make there is still hope. Keep reading.
Now on another page tally up what you owe on: mortgage, home equity loans,college loans, credit cards, car loans etc.. Be brave and put it all down. Then on the same page write down what you have saved in the bank, cd's 401k or 401b, savings bonds,IRA'S, money jar, etc..
Most of you will say this is torture. Some of you will be suprised at how much you actually owe, make and or spend. Hopefully all of you will understand that the only way to get a hold of debt is to know what you owe. It is like being in a relationship that either works or does not work. Sometimes you get into a rut thinking that it is just the way it is. I am here to tell you it is up to you to take control of your spending and take control of your savings.
So you see yourself swimming in money or do you see yourself drowning in debt. Maybe you see yourself just paddling wildly just trying to keep at the shore. However you view yourself just let it go.
Feeling bad is not going to do anything but just feel bad. Sometimes in life it just is. When the doctors told me I had cancer 8 years ago I thought to myself well I guess if it is the end of my life there is nothing I can do about it. Then I snapped out of it. In my case I was able to avoid the inevitable for a while. That is when I really understood there are no guarantees in life.
So how do you turn it around. Well first things first lets get off the credit card merry go round. It is hard I know but you have to get off it. If you are paying credit cards with credit cards you have to look at how to increase your income at home. Some tough decisions to make but, just for a little while. Once you are on your feet you will be making clearer decisions.
First look at your home. What can you change immediately. Phone, gas, electric, cable and internet. Really review your bills. I only had the stations I was able to receive with an antenna for years. Savings are endless there if you are paying $50 to $100 a month for cable that is a savings of $600 to $1200 a year. Put the money you save towards paying down your debt. Electricity. Well my bill went from $140 to $60 a month when I unplugged everything that needed a remote or did not turn off at the wall. Only things plugged in are the stove,microwave and internet. If is uses a remote it uses energy even if you think its turned off. My computer, washing machine, alarm clock etc are off unless I use them. OK now that is another $720 a year.
Continuing with that type of thinking review your cell phone plan change it do you really need all those minutes. You cannot possibly wait to talk to someone until you get home. Are you kidding. I have a plan with my son and dropped minutes and am saving another $240 a year.Plus see if your work place has a discount plan with a phone carrier. Mine is 18% off the bill. More money in my pocket
Next insurance. Not all plans are the same go over your car, homeowners, renters, and life insurance get a bundle or get a discount through lots of organizations. I utilize my college alumni status and get approximately 20% off. Get the picture that is close to $2400 more in my pocket and not in someone else's account.
Food is simple. Farmers markets. Coupons. No more processed food. Look at how much you spend on packaging. For emergencies its great but as a daily lifestyle it will save you lots of money. Coupons back to them. Only use them if you use the products.
Dining out cost most of us close to $200-$400 a month or more. Eat appetizers and go to BYOB. You will save tons of cash. Go out and enjoy but not if it goes on a credit card. More interest and more debt.One meal with family four times a week well thats close to $5000 a year. What a better way to save it and think about the vacation you always wanted but could not afford. Well here is the money. Before you go out think about what would give you long term satisfaction. A meal or memories of a lifetime. Or paying off that credit card, car payment, etc..
So how to reel it all in. First with a BUDGET. What you make and how to pay the bills you have. It will mean changing your habits for life. Really look to see what you need to change. Take control over your spending. If you are in the head you deserve to have everything your heart desires at the cost of you having nothing when you retire then do not read any further.
Most of us do not plan for the future. I was fortunate to have savings put aside when I was out of work and on disability for my long term illness. I had disability insurance. It has paid for itself in spades.
So this is just the beginning. Have great dreams and get it together. I will show you how to get ahead and do these for yourself and REMEMBER CASH IS KING. Use cash and put away the credit card. I know you can do it. Peace to you all and write me tell me how it is going. Denise