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Budgeting - Reduce Debt With A Solid Plan

Now more than ever may be a great time to review the state of your finances, your "personal balance sheet" in order to make the changes you need to succeed in the new year. In fact, it just makes good fiscal sense to re-look at your personal financial situation (including your credit card debt) every year at or around tax time, just in case things (as they can) are beginning to slip.


Looking at your goals from both a long and short term perspective is a good place to start. Are you lessening your unsecured debt (such as medical bills, credit card debt and student loans), while keeping on top of other bills? If so, keep it up. Credit card debt especially is one of the most expensive forms of debt and can cost you heavily over the long term. As well, take a look at your retirement plan: are you on track to retire comfortably, have you considered inflation's effect on your retirement? Whatever the shape of your finances, budgeting is a superb tool to get a plan moving for you.


Budgeting Can Help You Get Out Of Debt

The key concept behind budgeting is of course planning. This means developing goals, which can be to eliminate debt, make future purchases such as a home, or vacations and savings. Starting by setting your goals is the only way to truly get the best of budgeting, because from there, you can take a look at your numbers.


Budget Numbers

Once your goals are in place, you're going to need to take a look at the numbers. First of all, what are your expenses? Take a look at previous months and determine a rough value of the expenses which are consistent and are based on needs as opposed to wants. Tracking your expenses may not be something you can do in a period of a week, especially if you do not save receipts. If you aren't saving receipts, start saving them now, and then re-look at how much you are spending in one month. Also, record your income, which is as easy as taking a look at your previous 2-3 paychecks. Make sure you include all income, including money from odd jobs and other tasks.


Total Up And Categorize

Once you have a good idea of your income and expenses on a monthly basis, make totals for each. Then, compare both with your goals, and adjust either to make certain your goals can be met. The fact is, if your expenses are higher than your income, you're simply going to have to eliminate some of those expenses. Rule out the necessities such as food, utilities and mortgage, and re-look at the non-necessities, such as dinner out, and entertainment. Another superb plan is to categorize the "type" of expenses you are incurring, and then create a "total budgeted" amount for each type of expense. That way, you can start trimming the fat, and get your budget working for you immediately.


Emergency Funds

An absolute must with budgeting is to include a so-called "emergency fund", which is critical as a just-in-case financial cushion. This fund should be filled first with 3-6 months of income that can be used in case of job loss or a medical problem. Having this fund is critical, as it can prevent debt in cases where you may be very susceptible to it.


Budgeting requires discipline, and must be constantly examined in order to ensure that your plan is being adhered to. Re-evaluating your budget every tax time is a smart thing to do, and is a superb practice that should be part of everyone's life. Start now and you will discover the rewards will come much faster than you would have thought.


Having issues with credit card debt? Contact us here for free debt help. We may be able to provide you with the tools you need to consolidate your debt.

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