Americans frequently spiral out of control with debt. They find that they do not have enough money left at the end of the month to pay off their expenses. What is a person to do, other than deal with bankruptcy? There are steps that people can take to avoid having so much debt.
1. Formulate a Budget
Having a budget is imperative. Those who do not know how their income and expenses even out will not know where all of the money went at the end of the month. Budgets help with accountability for little expenses that add up.
2. Cut Back
This step might actually be necessary to achieve the next step. Unless a person has a million dollars in the bank, looking for ways to cut out excess spending can be a good way to save up for life’s uncertainties and remove stress.
3. Set up an Emergency Fund
This is key, and some financial gurus argue that it is actually the first step that people should take to avoid stress in their lives. Even $500 or $1,000 can go a long way toward being able to pay for a dishwasher or refrigerator that goes out. Saving even $25 or $50 each month can add up, and it can avoid interest charges going forward.
4. Have Adequate Insurance
A lack of life, health, auto, or home insurance can lead to major expenses and a financial disaster waiting to happen. Insurance is definitely not an area to cut costs unless the insured can find a cheaper rate for comparable or better coverage. Those who have an emergency fund set up can actually raise their deductibles to save money on premiums.
5. Pay off Debt
After getting a small emergency fund set up, it is then important to get a debt repayment schedule set up. Every additional dollar that comes in from things like rebates and tax refunds should go to kill the debt. Every dollar that goes to pay off a bank is a dollar that cannot be used for other, more beneficial, purposes. After debt is paid off, the money that went to getting rid of it can go toward the next step.
6. Save More
After paying off debt, it becomes time to go into overdrive with savings. The savings should go toward having around six months of expenses available for the loss of a job or a drop in income. They should also go toward funding retirement because company-sponsored pensions are going the way of the woolly mammoth and Social Security is not really a secure thing going into the future. The more savings a person can accumulate, the more stress-free they should become.
Cutting out financial stress can be a time-consuming task, but one thing is sure. Those who have gone through the process are generally pretty happy that they did.
Author Bio: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Information credited to AC Waring & Associates Inc., bankruptcy trustees Edmonton.