Tips to Regain Control of Your Finances by Pamela S Thibodeaux (c) 2015 In today’s economy, many folks are finding their finances getting tighter and cushion (savings) smaller. Many are in more debt than they realized and can’t imagine a way out. Some people panic, others buckle down, determined to exercise control until they are completely out of debt and resent every moment they have to live tight fisted.
Neither is the best way to tackle out-of-control finances.
One way to gain control of your finances is to know what your tax bracket is. By using a tax calculator, you can monitor your deductions and if possible, change your filing status to increase your net income (take-home pay). Also check out Tax Hub, which includes deadline dates, calendar reminders, tax guides and links to each important tax season form for businesses, employees, and freelancers.
Now let’s look at a few more basic ideas to regain control of your finances and in turn, feel better about life in general.
#1: I’ve said this a million times and I’ll say it again ~ wealth is a mindset. The Bible states that ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and a sound mind’ subsequently control begins in your thinking. Take a deep breath and pray for guidance, wisdom and direction in setting up a reasonable budget in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, remember, thoughts become words, so watch what you say about your finances.
#2: Set up a budget. There are numerous accounting and budgeting programs but sometimes basic is best. Get a notebook and list your basic monthly expenses in order of due date. In a separate column or a different page, list those bills that you’ve been unable to pay regularly as those to be paid off.
#3: Budget EVERY paycheck! Whether paid weekly, semi-monthly, bi-weekly or monthly – sit down with your check stub and work your budget accordingly. Be sure to leave room for unexpected expenses. For example, you bring home $885.00 every two weeks, work your budget around $800.
#4: Call your creditors and explain your situation. Ask for assistance in whatever way they can provide it – maybe lower interest rates, or revise your payment plan. Most creditors are more than willing to work with you – it is the lack of communication that drives them to make ugly phone calls and send nasty letters.
#5: Pay as many bills as you can EVERY time you get paid. Creditors would rather accept $10 or $25 every payday than your promise to pay ‘whenever’ you can.
#6: Pay yourself. So many get frustrated and upset by the situation they are in they don’t allow enough for things like groceries, gas for the car, etc. Cut back of course, but don’t forget these necessities.
#7: Save! When money is tight, starting or maintaining a savings account seems impossible, but it’s not. Remember, you are budgeting less than you bring home – and although putting every dime toward debt is tempting—don’t do it! Every time you get paid, take what’s left over from the previous payday and slide that into a savings account. Whether $10 or $100, this will add up and you’ll feel better.
These are just a few ideas on gaining control of your runaway finances. I’m sure once you sit down, you’ll discover a few more.
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She has over twenty years experience in bookkeeping, insurance and tax preparation. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
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