Have you stopped to realize that although you go to school to learn about important subjects, no one teaches you how to manage your money?
Money is an essential part of life in our pursuit of happiness, yet very rarely will a parent sit down and tech their child how to handle their money.
This is true in grade school, high school and worst college. So what happens? Many of us end up in an extremely large amount of debt. We can’t seem to get it together even if we make more money.
I found myself in this trap about 13 years ago. I had an okay job, a car, and an apartment. Nice I thought soon I would buy a house and live the “American dream”. Wrong! I could never save enough to buy a house. I had plenty of credit cards, so many that I never had enough money due to many payments to put aside for my dream home.
What was happening to my paychecks? Well, I was over extended in credit card debt for one. The buy now pay later syndrome was well embedded in my head. That mentality had to stop! Since, I wasn’t terribly behind in my payments I was able to get some help from the creditors. I simply asked for a lower interest rate and/or the ability to skip a payment. After that call, I had to cut up and dispose of the cards. No! I didn’t cancel my cards but I got rid of them just the same.
Next I bought a tablet just for my budget information and bills. I also purchased a software program to keep track of my expenses. I think it is important to keep something manual that you can carry as well as a computer software tool.
Next, as bills came in, I wrote them down with the name, address, phone number of the creditor, my total balance, interest rate, and minimum payment due, the due date, and if there were any annual fees acquired with the card.
Review the card with the highest interest rate and pay more then the minimum due. Always ask if they can reduce your rate or seek the possibility of debt consolidation buy applying for a low interest rate loan or credit card. If you haven’t cut up your credit cards do not get a consolidation loan. Because most likely once your payments are manageable you’ll start using your cards again.
Minimizing your spending is the key to financial freedom. Make sure to start a savings plan after you’ve gotten your debt under control.
Dina D Harbour, Financial Coach
Wanted Debt Or Alive (A counseling service)