At the beginning of each year, I look at our budget and how we managed financially and what area we could improve. This year has gone pretty good for the most part.
The number one thing to remember is to FACE (Financial Awareness Continuously Empowers) your financial situation straight on. You need to get a clear picture of what you owe and come up with a plan to pay it off.
So with the new year upon us, I challenge each of you to get off on the right foot financially. The first thing you need to do is locate all your bills and put them together. You need to find a place that will be where bills are always put until they can be paid. You should not have to search the house for your bills before sitting down and paying bills. That will just lead to late bills and stress.
If I get the mail in I look through the mail immediately and throw away the junk and envelopes. Get rid off that clutter!! I than put ever bill in the secretary in the dining room. I am buying a file cabinet for the dining room so I will be able to immediately file any other important papers that come in the mail. Every piece of mail is really just a decision to be made. If you delay the decision you simply add work and clutter to your lives! I am currently making my way through many delayed decisions and it is overwhelming.
Another helpful things is to have a certainly day during the week that is designated paperwork/bill night. For our household I take care of bills on Thursday nights or Friday mornings. This gives us a good idea of money available for the weekend, etc. We receive a paycheck each week and pay bills and review our budget weekly.
The next crucial tool for us is our bill paying binder. I have a three-ring binder which has dividers for each month. Behind each month divider is my bill sheet for the month. I also keep preprinted address labels and stamps in this binder. Everything I need to pay bills is in one place. In the past I have been in the ICU and a car accident and couldn’t take care of the bills, etc. During both of those times my hubby was able to look at our bill paying binder and pick up right where I left off. Due to my organization and his involvement in our paying bills he could easily take over for me. This is always where having a household management binder is very helpful. If I am unable to care for my family, they need to be able to find all the info quickly! We really found this to be a problem when my MIL broke her hip and we had to try and take over their finances. We had to search for many things.
Our #1 goal is to be debt free before retirement. I actually hope to have this within the next 10 years, God willing. I have seen what having credit card debt has done to people in the later years of their lives. My ex MIL passed away and her husband was left with alot of bills he had to take care of. My in-lawys struggle monthly to pay their bills. I want to live a comfortable life in my later years! I vow to live within my means now to have that in the future!! You really have to make that your motto, live within your means!! If you use a credit card and don’t pay it off at the end of the month, you are not living within your means. We have a number of credit cards and are working hard to paying them off.
We are using a the snowball technique to pay off our debts. We took each of our credit cards and listed them from least amount owed to the largest. We then looked at the minimum payment at that time. We pay that minimum payment on all the credit cards, except for the smallest one. We add an extra $100 to that bill each month. Even if our minimum payment on the other larger cards decrease we continue to pay the same consistent amount each month. Next month we will have our smallest card paid off. We will then take the minimum payment for that card and the extra $100 a month and add it to the minimum payment on the next credit card minimum payment. I hope that makes sense. We always pay the same amount each month towards paying off this debt, even if our minimums are decreased. This saves you a lot of money on interest. So start rolling that snowball!!!!
That is all I have time for today. My challenge today is for you to get yourself organized and find your bills. It is time to face your debt so make a list of your debts so you can start getting control of it! Let us know how you do!!