Money management can be a blessing or a curse: either you manage the money, or it manages you. In order to get back in control of your financial situation, you may need to take drastic measures to help you to get back on your feet. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take in order to put the reins back in your hands.
The First Response
If you have crushing debt, your first move should be to solve the immediate problem. Bankruptcy is an attractive option for many, but it is not the only solution when you have nowhere left to turn. You can help your situation by:
- Liquidating your assets. Sometimes, debt is caused by signing too many financing deals, or by having too many draws from an ever depleting bank account. If you have expendable assets, such as jewelry, electronics, or automobiles, sell them at a competitive price and put the proceeds toward debt that you have no control over, such as medical bills or student loans.
- Downsizing. Often, you can still find a nice place to live that costs less. If your house is beyond payment, save yourself from foreclosure by taking preemptive action. Sell or lease the house, and opt to live in a smaller place for the time being, until your financial situation becomes more stable.
- Consolidating debt. If you owe money on several credit cards, or have crushing debt from all sides, debt consolidation can offer you a temporary solution. It pays off your creditors as it puts all of your debts into one loan, which you pay off every month. This will only improve your overall situation if you combine consolidation with changes in your spending habits.
- Seeking help from a financial counselor or bankruptcy attorney such as Levi A Brooks. They will be able to look at your situation and advise you on your best course of action. Sometimes, bankruptcy is your only option. Other times, there are roads out of the pit that are long, but have fewer consequences or are more feasible for you personally.
Getting Back To Basics
Rebuilding your future after bankruptcy or debt consolidation is a long road, but it can be done. The best way to make sure that you maintain your new financial freedom is to change your lifestyle.
Some people are financially strapped because of medical bills or uncontrollable circumstances. Other have suffered a chance in cash flow and have not been able to fully adjust their expectations accordingly. These circumstances do not have to be the new normal. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it begins with basic money management.
- Stop using credit cards. You may want to begin using them again later in your life, but credit should always be a secondary spending option, and it should only be used if you can afford to pay the balance with your checking account.
- Start saving. Put ten percent of your paycheck into the savings account. This will safeguard you against needing to borrow money in the future when there is an emergency, as you will have a small amount set aside to help cover the unexpected cost.
- Assess your income. Even if it is not much, your income should set the tone for all of your spending habits.
- Pay for your needs. Remember, your basic needs are the most important. Housing, food, transportation and utilities are the needs you have for daily life. These needs fit within a wide spectrum, and you can spend a lot or a little on meeting them.
- Make a budget. A budget is especially important for handling the things you want. You can make a long-term budget to save for long-term purchases. You can set aside money for occasional expenditures like eating out or going on a vacation. You should always track your spending and have a financial goal to work toward.
Freedom from debt in not just a dream; it can be reality. By taking control of your financial situation and making some changes in your spending habits, you will breathe easily from month to month and finally have the immense pressure lifted from your shoulders.