Blogger Widgets Read between the lines: Budgeting (A dreaded word)


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Budgeting (A dreaded word)

How much do you owe? $100.00, $1,000.00 or maybe $10,000.00? The first thing you need to do is gather your receipts or call your credit card company (or companies) to get find out exactly how much you owe. Just waiting for the bills to arrive in the mail could put you further behind; you will lose valuable planning time. Once you know the total amount you owe you’ll be able to make a plan to pay this holiday debt off, as quickly as possible.

And how do you do that? Just as we have to do with the extra 5 or 10 pounds we may have gained from overeating during the holidays… by cutting back!

Make cut backs over the next few weeks or months, or however long it may take you to get caught up. Unless you just totally went crazy over the holidays you should be able to pay off your holiday debts pretty quickly—and not to spoil the party but, just think how nice it would be to not owe anything!

Budgeting is truly a lot like dieting. It takes discipline and determination to do better, and to cut back when necessary. (Fortunately, budgeting is often a lot easier!)

Here are a few ideas to get you started, make a list of everything you spend money on each week and you may be able to add some more of your own…

Areas to cut back until your holiday debts are paid off:

* Dining out

(this includes a DRIVE-THROUGH!)

* Pizza delivery

* Prepackaged foods at the grocery store

(and any expensive items at the grocery store)

* Gourmet coffees

* Vending machines snacks and sodas

* Power bill

(trim your electric or gas bill by adjusting your thermostat by 1-2 degrees)

* New clothes and gifts

* Travel

* Car washes

* Exercise equipment or gym fees

(walking is free!)

* Movies and sports events

* Video rentals

(get a free-trial month at Netflix!)

* New furniture, bed & bath linens, appliances... (and anything else that might happen to be on SALE right now!)

Save as much money as you can and put it all towards your holiday debt. Figure up approximately how long it’s going to take to pay everything off so that you have a clear understanding of how long you need to keep your cutbacks in place. For example: If you owe $250.00 and can save about $100 a month with cutbacks, it will take you 2 and 1/2 months to pay off your debt. If you can save $150 a month, it will only take you about 6-7 weeks.

Stick to your plan! Pay your holiday debt off as quickly as possible. Period. It may not sound very exciting right now; in fact, it might even be a little painful. But I promise you it will be worth it!

Also, if you have the ability to make some extra money to pay off your holiday debt (maybe you even have some items you can sell on eBay), you may be able to pay off your debt in half the time!

As you reflect on the total amount of money you owe due to overspending during the holidays, consider how much better you would feel without that extra financial burden. Creating a holiday spending plan (budget) will really help.

starting in January—or as soon as you have your bills caught up. This will enable you to take more time to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, spending just a small amount of money each month instead of all at once. You can also pick up some great end-of season clearances every 2-3 months!

And remember, it’s the thoughtfulness behind the gift (store-bought or homemade) that counts, not the amount of money you spend!


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Vanishing fear

Your thoughts are what frighten you. Choose to change them, and the fear is gone.