With money problems being a top source of stress nationwide, developing a plan to control and fix personal finances is fundamental. If the prospect of fixing financial problems seems daunting, starting in small, measured steps can help motivate and keep you on task.
Assess your Finances
Honestly assess your finances by listing all your debts and all your assets. Then separately add your debts and assets and subtract your total debt from total assets. The difference between your debt and asset totals gives you the net value of your finances. A negative value means you have more debts than you can cover while a positive number means you have sufficient assets to settle your debts. Understanding if and how much debt you are in is the first step to facing the anxiety that comes with finances.
Select the debts you want to repay first. Focusing on a small cluster of debts rather than all of them helps make repayment planning more manageable. In addition, you will be able to see progress as each group of debts is paid off, keeping you motivated.
Craft a Budget
Budget realistically to maximize the value of your income. Regardless of income level, you can control spending with an organized budget to help remind you what spending items are needs or wants. Once you analyze what spending is elective, you have a sense of how much you can save by cutting unnecessary expenses. Even a small amount going towards reducing debt can make a significant long term impact.
Remind yourself the occasional diversion from the budget is perfectly acceptable. Remembering this will greatly reduce your stress and anxiety when it comes to finances. Given that special occasions or unexpected necessary expenses creep up, breaking from the budget is allowed. However, breaking the budget plan often is not helpful in the long term to ease financial stress.
Involve the Family
Make budgeting a family program. Involving spouses, children and other members of the household helps make everyone else conscious about spending decisions that impact the household budget. In addition, sharing the progress from savings goals or debt reduction shows everyone the positive impact of the budgeting process.
Look to Professionals
Seek professional help when necessary. Personal finance professionals have the expertise to help you manage your financial situation by identifying the stress points in your finances and helping guide you to the best outcome. They can help you work through bankruptcy, credit consolidation and more.
Money problems can be daunting to resolve. However, taking small but strategic steps at first can help alleviate some of the pressure and produce results that can motivate additional actions. In the long term, this domino effect will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and your finances in better health.
Author Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She writes about health, family, home and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. Informational credit to Faber Inc.