The holiday season is upon us! As we “shop our way” into debt, it is impossible not to think about finances. However, we continue to spend with the thought that we will pay it off next year. Unfortunately, next year arrives with new bills, compiling the problem. Many will make a list of resolutions that will more than likely include pay off bills, lose weight, save money, you know the same list that we make every year. It’s time to ditch the “repeated” resolution list and put a plan in place for a financial makeover! The biggest challenge for most people is getting a handle on feeling overwhelmed. Well, grab a cup of something warm to drink, paper and pen, turn off the TV, computer and cell phone. Let’s get started on your financial makeover!
Create an Action Plan
It is very hard to reach any goal without a plan of action. To create a plan, you must know exactly where you stand. This is when you get it all out on paper. I call this a dump list. You will need to list every bill, debt and responsibility you have. This needs to include total amount owed, monthly payment and percentage of interest.
Let the Purging Begin
Normally, it’s the small transactions that secretly eat away at your bank account. This is where you get serious and differentiate needs and wants. It’s time to purge! Look at your previous bank statement to find those small deductions. Let’s be honest, it’s time to let go of the gym membership from “last year’s resolution”. Also, get rid of the unwatched premium channels, club memberships, and magazine subscriptions etc.
Negotiate Like a Boss
Next, if you have creditors that you’ve paid on time this year, call them and negotiate a better interest rate. A lower interest rate will lower your monthly payment. Don’t forget to contact your utility companies. There are several new budget programs that may substantially lower your monthly bill. Be sure to call any collection companies that you owe. This is the best time of year to work out an affordable payment plan.
Start a Savings Plan
This is a financial makeover. Therefore, you will need to start or add to a savings account. Now is the time to ask for a deferred car payment. The money that would have been used for the payment should be deposited into your savings account as emergency funds.
Find New Source of Income
Finally, after negotiating interest rates and monthly payments and if you’re still financially strapped, it may be time for a change. You need to find another source of income. The old cliché “Two jobs is for two people” holds true for most. Therefore, at the very least, update your resume and place it on a job search site. Often, companies are paying more for your skills, than what you are currently earning.
Now that you’ve completed the ground work, you’re ready to develop a budget and welcome the New Year with a solid plan of action to create a successful financial makeover. In addition, if you want to speak with someone, Apprisen offers a free financial review session or you can start the process online and one of our certified Financial Specialists will get back to you with a personalized action plan. If you’re in debt, a Debt Management Plan can lower your interest rates and fees, and help you save money so you have a financial healthy 2019.