Living paycheck to paycheck can be extremely stressful, which is why taking some time to plan for your financial health can be a useful way to spend some of your free time.
#1 Figure Out What You Actually Owe
It can be easy to just focus on making your monthly payments each month, and to forget about assessing what you actually owe.
First, get out all your statements for accounts where you owe money such as your car loans, student loans, and credit card loans. Create a spreadsheet. Within the spreadsheet, write down the total amount you owe, the interest rate you are being charged for each account, and your minimum monthly payment.
Creating a spreadsheet will allow you to easily see what your highest and lowest balances are, as well as where your interest is hurting you the most.
#2 Figure Out What You Want to Pay-Off
Next, you need to figure out what you want to pay-off. Maybe you have a loan that has a balance under $1,000, and you want to pay that balance off to get it out of the way. Maybe you just realized one of your loans has an extremely high-interest rate, and you want to pay off that loan first. Figure out what loan you want to pay off first and which loan will benefit you the most to pay it off quickly.
#3 Create a Plan for Paying off Debt
Then, create a plan for paying off that first loan. Perhaps you decide to cancel your cable for six months and use that money to pay off the loan. Perhaps your plan is to downsize to a less expensive home and put that extra money towards that debt. Focus on ways to reduce your expenses and put that money towards paying off your debts. That way, you don't have to focus (yet) on creating new money, just using your money in a smarter way.
#4 Create A Savings
Next, you need to create a savings. Your savings is where you are going to want to put any new money that you make. Get a raise at work? Put it towards your savings, even if the money is only a small amount per month. Sign up for a survey taking site and put that extra couple hundred dollars you make per year into your savings. Find small ways to start making extra money and put it into your savings.
Sitting down and facing your debt can help you move forward with really paying off your debt, creating savings, and moving towards building wealth instead of paying off debt and struggling. A financial advisor can help you with these tasks.Share