BY LISA S.T. DOSS
Debt is a common household worry. Mortgages, loans, auto and credit cards represent the most significant financial obligation among Americans. It’s natural to want the liberty of debt freedom while establishing a nest egg! In the greater plan, both are viable!
Keep a Written Record
Accounting software programs and handheld notebook-style ledgers offer two separate visual ways to keep a record of each month’s checks and balances. Any new program takes roughly three months to tweak and make it work; therefore, don’t give up too soon!
Eliminate Mail Delays
Each time a billing statement arrives either in your email or mailbox, take a few minutes to look at specific details, such as the balance, principal and interest amounts, date of payment and penalties. Online bill-pay programs allow clients to organize their bills and create recurring and individual payments up to one year in advance through a user-friendly website.
Take Control of Your Expenses
In 10 minutes, you could have a reduced bill. All it takes is a phone call!
- Contact banking institutions to determine whether you can lower a high-interest rate. Rather than hold onto a higher percentage rate, look into balance transfer programs. Usually, the obligation is a nominal flat rate for a period of 12 to 18 months.
- Energy companies and cellular phone networks offer credits to government employees, teachers and other professionals. Some companies will discount a bill by $10 to establish an automatic payment plan.
- Cable companies offer reduced rates for “bundling.” Call today to see whether or not you are eligible!
Everyone needs an emergency fund. By including “savings” in your budget, you’ll find substantial cash on hand to fulfill the rainy-day plans or a genuine need. Just think, saving $75 monthly can expand to $900 after 12 months. Determine whether you can afford to keep $50 per paycheck with bimonthly or weekly payments.
- Establish a monthly Christmas, child or vacation fund. Setting aside money for a specific cause or event allows the spirit to hold onto a positive future dream!
- Create an insurance account through your bank. Rather than pay monthly, store the savings and pay bi-annually.
Two areas of uncontrollable spending are monthly purchases and food expenses. Begin by creating a budget and allotting your family a specific amount for each. Consider a viable plan that works for you and takes minutes to accomplish. One solution is to apply for a cashback credit card for just food expenses or monthly needs. With the weekly effort of check balancing and pending amounts, the card can boost your credit by operating on a zero balance.
- Pack a lunch and extra snacks to save from buying overpriced items at vending machines and gas stations.
- Carry a cold thermos daily!
- Do not stop at the grocery store after work; instead, create a weekly meal plan and shop once a week.
- Compare shop before buying an item. You might find it cheaper elsewhere.
Refinancing a Mortgage
The concept sounds too good to be true until you look at the financial losses. Fees may comprise an additional $5,000 to $10,000 to your current balance and spread over 15 to 30 years. The best solution is to add extra money, providing annually a 13th payment. Over time, your mortgage will shed off years and work similarly to that once-sought-after lowered rate!
Ask Yourself, “Do I Need This?”
The cherry red truck may have extra cargo room, hidden compartments and an EcoDiesel engine. It’s what you always wanted! For the price tag of $32,000, could you survive driving a $14,000 used SUV? Shoppers ask themselves similar questions every day when comparing apples to oranges. There are numerous ways to reduce your bills. Ask yourself, “Can I eliminate my landline? Would I be content watching YouTube and Netflix and cancel cable television? Sacrifice is not easy; yet, a larger goal is at stake. With unmanageable debt paid off, there will be a time when you no longer need to walk away and say, “I wish I could!”