You’re reading this blog, so I'm guessing that you want to get out of debt; that you want to take control your finances. Let me ask you, what are you doing about it? Are you reading this blog, other personal finance blogs or books but you’re unable to take that first step? Are you tired after a long day at work? Do the kids have you running around to the point of exhaustion? Are you just not up for sitting down and hammering out a budget?
I get that! In fact, I get all of that! There comes a point, and I’ve been there, when enough is enough; realizing that making the minimum payment on your credit cards is getting you nowhere, hoping you have enough money to get you to the next paycheck, hoping you have the money to pay the bills at the end of the month or dwelling or the fact that you’re not saving for retirement. The stress this causes is unbearable! Would you rather spend an hour a night over a few nights, organizing your finances, taking control in an effort to reduce that stress?
If so, try this:
- Tonight, we’ll call it Night 1: Sit down and write down what your financial goals are. Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 30 years? Then ask, “Is this attainable doing what I’m/we’re doing?”
- Night 2: Write down all of your debt! All of it! List it ALL out and be honest! Any of those secret credit cards you’re hiding from your spouse, get ‘em out! List them smallest to largest!
- Night 3: Look at your bank and credit card statements and write down what you spent last month.
- Night 4: Using the information you gathered on Night 3, attempt a budget. Be realistic! If you need a form check out Dave Ramsey’s budgeting form’s here. Try the quickie budget first, and then go from there. We use these forms and it’s worked for us, however, Mint.com or Quicken might work for you.
- Night 4: Figure out what you can do to save more money or how you can increase your cash flow. Check out my Snowflaking post for some ideas.
Get started! This stuff isn’t complicated! It may be hard but it’s not complicated! It’s hard to have the discipline to stick to a budget! It’s hard to have the maturity to delay gratification; only purchasing something when you really need it. It’s hard to sacrifice!
Is it worth it? Hell yeah! When Andrea and I got on the plan, we knew where every dollar was going and it we finally felt like we were in control. The stress started to melt away. Was it hard? Yeah! Did it take time to finally figure out how to get our budget straight? Yeah! Was passing on the new flat screen hard? Yeah! However, the feeling we had when we finally paid off that last debt was UNREAL! To know that the only thing we had left to pay off was the house, was a feeling of freedom that I can’t describe. While I can’t describe the feeling, I really want you to know it first hand! Take that first step! Take it tonight and take control of your money!