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Making A Budget

February 9th, 2007 at 09:48 pm

Now that you are committed to tackling your debt problem, it's time to step back and take a critical look at where you really stand. Since you're still reading, you already know that you have debt you want to get rid of. The only way to do this is to find out where your monthly paycheck has been going. The logical step is to take the time to write that information down. In other words, you need sit down and put your current budget into writing (okay, that was your first test to see if your commitment was true or just a passing fantasy).

There is something about the word "Budget" that brings about the image of all things terrible. It ranks right down there next to going to the dentist on the list of things people want to do. Before you stop reading, let us try to reassure you a bit. Making A Budget doesn't mean you can no longer do any of the things you like to do. It's merely a process that allows you to see where all your income is currently going. Unless you understand where the money is going, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to understand where the debt is coming from.

For most people, compiling their current spending habits is a truly eye opening experience. For many, the outflow that is causing the debt is often not the result of what they imagined. Many times it is not the big ticket items (sometimes it is), but the accumulation of easy to forget small expenses that is causing the problems. These seem to fly below the radar screen never to be seen until you take the time and effort to put your current spending habits down into writing so they are right in front of your eyes.

Once this is done, you are in the position to make the needed changes to bring your spending back within the limits of your current earnings. That, however, won't be enough. In addition to balancing your cash inflow and outflow, we will also search out an additional 10% of your earnings which will be used to pay off your debt. Okay, okay...we can already hear the shouts of "Impossible!" If you have already given up, it's time to go back to your reason for reading this article in the first place. The resources on this site will show you plenty of ways to do it if you have the commitment.

For most people, simply limiting credit card use to tangible items that do not disappear once they have been purchased will bring you back into balance. Purchases such as dinners, bar drinks, movie tickets and the like that no longer exist once they have been used are where most people get into trouble. It doesn't mean you can no longer do these things...just that if you chose to do them, you need to pay for them in cash. For those further in debt, and in order to find that extra 10% you will need to pay down your debt, a look through the saving articles such as Savings Games, as well as the saving tips on this site, will make it possible for you to easily accomplish this. If after reviewing all this, you still can't even balance your income and spending, you need to jump to step #10 to decide if that is your only alternative or if you want to give this step another shot.

This process will also give you a clear picture of all the debt you currently have. This debt will most likely include a minimum of number of credit and department store cards, a car payment and possibly some student loans and a house payment. Once you have figured out a way to live within your current means and have the current debt information directly in front of you, you have put yourself in the position of finally being able to take care of the debt. You are now ready to tackle the next step.

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