Last week we talked about the fact that resolutions or goals have to be measurable and achievable. OK, having said that, how about we break it down a little more? How about finding some financial steps that will take about half an hour? There are a bunch of them to talk about this week and next.
None of these in and by themselves will get you to be debt free, financially non-stupid, or rich, but any of them – all of them – are the first step to getting you on the right track. Remember that the longest journey always, always, begins with the first step. Once you’ve taken that step, the rest get easier because you’ve laid the groundwork.
-You have to know where you’re at: Get a big piece of paper and write out your debts. How much you owe, who you owe it to, the minimum payment, how long is left, if it’s a straight loan, and what the interest rate is.
-Do a budget just once: Without the TV on or playing with the kids, put your net income at the top, then write down all the bills each month, from groceries to utilities, lunch at work to haircuts – I mean everything. Subtract them from your income and you’ll have at least a one-time snapshot of your financial life in writing and in front of you.
-Set up a separate savings account: Go to the credit union and open up a savings account that’s not hooked to your debit card with $10 in it. It’s not much but you now have the account. Step two, should you choose to, is to make this either your two week net pay emergency account that never gets touched, and/or make it the place you deposit some money each and every month for your annual bills such as house insurance, money for next Christmas, your vacation, or whatever.
…we’ll do part II next week!