Are you like most Americans struggling to stay current on bills, pay down debt, or save money? According to a recent survey, for the 4th consecutive year, staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on the bills is the runaway winner among Americans’ highest financial priorities (38%). Paying down debt runs a distant second (21%), followed by saving (18%). Only those making $75k or more ranked paying down debt (30%) and saving (26%) higher than staying current on bills (22%).
Don’t be alarmed! No matter your current situation or level of income, there is hope. And, of course, it will take your commitment and desire to take action and get your personal finances back on budget.
The first step in taking control of your money is to understand how much you earn and how much you spend each month.. Once you have this simple income to expense foundation you are ready to develop a plan for your money.
TIP: Track your expenses by saving all of your receipts or review your bank statements for the last two to three months.
Here are some questions to begin asking yourself. Are there any expenses in my budget that are luxuries? Categorize each expense as either a need or a want?
Once you apply the need versus wants criteria to your expenses it becomes pretty easy to determine what can and should be cut. Sure, it won’t be easy to give up certain things, but if you are struggling to pay bills these sacrifices will need to be made in order to get yourself back on track. I think you’ll be amazed at the immediate impact these cuts have towards freeing up cash that can be used for other “need” expenses like food, rent or paying off debt.
Earning More Income
Even after cutting expenses, you may find that you are still struggling to meet your financial goals. This is when it’s time to review your income.
How Can I Generate Immediate New Income?
- Are you working forty hours a week?
- Is there overtime available?
- Can you take on a part-time job?
- Is there something you could do from home or in your spare time to make extra money?
- Have you asked for a raise?
There are many ways to immediately increase your income. Like cutting expenses they may not be easy and will take some sacrifice, but getting your finances back on track is worth it.
TIP: Here are more ways you can begin to generate extra income:
- Pizza Delivery
- Virtual Assisting
- Renting a Room in your home
- House Cleaning
- General Maintenance
- Lawn Maintenance
- Driving (Uber)
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve cut your expenses and added new income… a one-two punch to address your financial needs. This powerful combination, if you remain dedicated, increases your chances at truly reducing your debt and getting your budget back on track.
About the Author
Brian Brandow is a writer and money coach committed to helping spread financial literacy to our youth and helping individuals build better financial futures. You can read more of his writing at DebtDiscipline.com.
The strategies outlined in this flyer may not be suitable for every individual, and are not guaranteed or warranted to produce any particular results. No warranty is made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, and the San Diego Financial Literacy Center, Debtwave and its partners specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this flyer.
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