Now that the holidays are over, and the first credit card statement shows up, gulp! Did you spend more than you planned? It happens to us all! I think especially as moms, we see something our child likes and we grab it. Or the dreaded late Christmas letter to Santa, don’t forget to get me that toy I didn’t tell you about until now… I’ve been there too! Don’t worry, we’ll get your finances back on track.
If you’re like me and many others, you want to get refocused on tackling debt and staying within your budget. Start the new year off right with getting back on track with your finances.
Tip 1: Figure out where you stand with your finances.
Not quite sure how much you spent this holiday season and where you now stand. The first tip is to go through all of your outstanding debts and make a list of interest rates and balances. The best way to do that is to print (or review online pdf) statements of all of your credit cards and loans. You’ll find all of the balance and rate information right on your statements. Once you have all of that information listed, you’re heading in the right direction to being back on track.
Tip 2: Take a deep breath and give yourself grace.
A lot of times, we let the fear of being overwhelmed by finances, or the shame of being in debt stop us from living to our fullest potential. Don’t believe those lies! Take a deep breath and you know you can get back on track with your finances, one step at a time.
Tip 3: Create a workable and flexible budget.
A budget tells your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.John Maxwell
Sometimes creating a budget is scary but there are some really great apps and tracking methods to use. One of my favorite apps is the EveryDollar app. It allows you to tell every dollar of your money where to go. The best place to start when creating a budget is your fixed expenses – your rent or mortgage, cell phone, utilities, childcare, etc. Then add in all of your other essentials, food, clothing, and water. The remaining discretionary spending and debt pay down should flow in next. Before you know it, you’ll have a workable, flexible budget to work. Another notch to getting back on track!
Tip 4: Review areas of spending to cut back.
One of my favorite tips to reduce your spending starts early in the morning and helps get you through the day. Can you guess it? Coffee! Saving $3 to $6 a day by just making your own coffee at home adds up quickly! Another trick is to cut back on eating out. If your family loves to eat out, the best way to do this is to take it is to pick one night a week to eat in. Find one or two areas to cut back on and just like that you’re well on your way to getting your finances back on track!