“One way to stay on track is by setting periodic goals or a series of milestones that help you stick to and develop strong new habits. You might consider setting milestones for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or more. These mini-goals can help with planning longer-term goals like ‘I will be debt free in three years,’ and keep you motivated in reaching that long-term milestone.”
–I can’t emphasis enough how crucial it is to set goals for yourself. When it comes to making a budget, it’s important that you start small. Mistakes are going to happen, and that’s OK; what’s not OK is getting discouraged and giving up.
“Do you need those new shoes or do you just want them? Ask yourself this question each time you find yourself contemplating a purchase. If it’s a need (and it fits within your budget), go ahead and buy them. If it’s a want, spend some time weighing the impact of your purchase. What will these shoes do for you? Will they make you happy? Fill a hole in your wardrobe? Can you afford to buy them? Is there something else that you want more? Be honest about how your purchase will impact your life, and then decide if that “want” is really worth the asking price.”
–There are things people need (food, clothing, shelter, etc.), and then there are things people want. Make the distinction between the two, and ask yourself before any purchase (doesn’t matter if you’re debating a major purchase or if you’re deciding to buy a candy bar at the check-out aisle), whether or not that item is in your best interest.
“Getting your recommended daily amount of water exclusively in bottled form can easily cost more than $1,000 per year, as compared with about 50 cents per year for just-as-healthy tap water.”
–I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Stop paying for bottled water! Our recent blog post uncovered a few “inconvenient” truths surrounding the bottle. Take a look here.
“Using credit cards to spend more than the cash you have while making only the minimum payments on the cards can build up their balances faster than you can pay them. And if you pay late, penalty fees just add to the total.”
–How often do you use your credit cards? Pretty often, right? Now, how often do you use cash? If you’re like most people, your use of cash is low to nil. Most people these days use credit cards for just about every purchase, and although it may be more convenient to pay with plastic at the time, it’s easy to forget about the interest rates, the late fees, and all other sorts of unwanted accomplices that come with it.
“Usually saving for the future means a sacrifice in the here and now. This can make saving feel like a chore, and no one likes chores. However, there are easy ways to save that require virtually no effort at all. The trick is to watch for things in your everyday life that can be made easily more efficient or to watch for deals and promotions that already coincide with your current spending habits and allow you to get something for nothing.”
–No one said saving was going to be easy. If budgeting were simple, then over 50 percent of Americans wouldn’t be in debt.
Becoming financially savvy takes time—a lot of time—but with the right approach and attitude, overcoming your debt is possible.
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