Facing the debt that slowly mounted during the holidays could be tough and guilt-inducing. Hiding under the covers might sound nice, but it won’t help. The best way to tackle any problem is by analyzing, planning and executing. So, kick-off 2021 with a solid financial plan.
Here are some quick tips to get you started:
Grab a notebook, open a spreadsheet or find an online budgeting tool and sit down with all your bills and expenses. Use whatever you’re most comfortable with and list all of your bills, the payment amount and due dates. This will give you focus and purpose.
Analyze your financial situation
Now that you have a clear understanding of your finances, you can formulate a budget you can stick to. Identify the credit cards with high-interest rates, and pay more than the minimum payment. In the long run, this will keep more money in your pocket instead of having it go towards interest.
Balance transfer credit cards
All of these cards come with some rules and conditions that you need to be aware of, but if you play by the rules, these cards can save you real money. For example, if you pay $150 a month on a credit card with a 19% APR and a $5,000 balance, you could transfer that debt to a credit card with a 12 month 0% introductory rate. If your balance is paid off in that 12 month period, you could save over $2,000.
Get a lower credit card rate
Another way to save money over time if you carry a balance is by using a credit card with a lower rate. You could even get a card with rates half or less those of banks and retailers from your Credit Union.
Cut down on spending
Yes, this step is hard. You will need to separate your needs from your wants. While reviewing your bills, receipts and statements, find items you can minimize or eliminate. For instance, re-negotiate your cable contract, cook more food at home, or cancel subscriptions you no longer use.
For more ideas read: Five Easy Ways To Cut Monthly Expenses
Bring in some extra cash
You can find a part time job, organize a yard sale, or freelance on the weekends or evenings to help increase your monthly budget. This might not solve all of your financial problems, but it will certainly help you make ends meet.
Your Credit Union offers time-tested debt consolidation solutions to help you meet financial goals, save more and have a more rewarding 2021. This starts with our popular Financial Wellness Check. It’s a free, relaxed, no-strings review of your finances and goals. We’ll help you find easy ways you can reach your goals.
If self-paced online learning is more your style — check out our online learning center. It’s completely free! And you’ll find additional modules about a variety of financial topics.
This article was developed in partnership with Balance Pro.