Our finances personal and national have suffered through a very difficult season. Whenever the dark, stormy clouds of tough times come roaring over us, there is always a silver lining - but sometimes you have to look for it! In this day and age of massive numbers of foreclosures, businesses closing all around us and families barely treading water financially; there is a bright lining that can shine through - if we, individually and as a nation, will make a serious change in the way we've been dealing with our finances. While this change is simple to do, it this goes beyond having good intentions; it will require real commitment.
Step One in this "silver lining" is to change our spending habits. For way too long, we as a people have been spending more than we make. We've tried to get away with "living beyond our means" by using credit cards, refinancing our homes or even borrowing from family or friends.
Here are the 3 simple - but not easy - ways to get your finances under control.
Most of us get into trouble because we simply let our "wants" exceed our ability to pay. Besides cutting back on our purchases; one of the best, "new" tools for reigning in our expenses is the use of coupons. That's right, the simple idea of finding and using manufacturers' or retailers' discount coupons. The good news is that coupons have come a long way.
They now come in a variety of forms - from the traditional newspaper clipping to the latest, state-of-the-art, digital coupons sent directly to your smart phone.
Coupons work in so many more niches than before - you might be surprised.
They can save you many hundreds of dollars on big ticket items!
Step Two is to stop paying crushing interest charges. Take the time to check what interest your credit cards are charging you and if it's outrageous (and it probably is) find another card(or cards if your credit debt is too big for one) which charges less interest (Google works great for this) and then transfer the debt (there will be a transfer fee but the difference in interest charges will cover that fairly quickly) and start saving!
Step Three is to develop a strategic plan for your future. Most of us have no plan for our financial future and if you don't know where you're going - you'll likely be disappointed with where you find yourself when you get there. This doesn’t have to be some grandiose, complicated thing; simply decide what you like to see in your future whether it’s travel or a comfortable retirement or paying for your child’s college education.
As we get serious about changing the things that are keeping us behind the 8 ball; we will be able to get our income to be a bit greater than our expenses. It’s at that point that we can actually save a little each month and finally start experiencing real financial peace of mind!