Point of View
UNITED STATES—Debt is something that we all have. With the holidays long behind us its time to reflect and look back on all the cash we spent or debt we acquired while purchasing gifts. Statistics has shown that more than ¾ of all credit card debt for the year comes from spending during the holiday months. Point a finger here because I’m guilty of using my credit card on a few gifts, those not worthy of the treats given to them.
The ability to resist using your credit card during the holidays is a tough challenge, but it sometimes has to be done. The only way to get out of debt is to not acquire even more debt through the use of charge cards. As the New Year approaches for many of us, one checklist of mine is to eliminate the current debt I have and to not be afraid to say the word “no.”
If you know by telling the truth to someone that you don’t indeed have the income to do X, Y and Z, you have no worries. Some people are obsessed with spending money; they haven’t a care in the world about what they purchase or how much they spend on the item.
Rule #1 its okay to purchase things on sale. Getting a great bargain is always a treat; do not be ashamed of it. If someone frowns upon it so be it. My argument relies on the fact that “This is my money. I’ve worked for it and I’ve earned it. I can choose to spend it however I’d like to. When you’re willing to come do my job for me, then you can spend my money. Until then keep your comments to yourself.”
Rule #2 eliminate any unnecessary expenses. Do you really need that snack while you’re grocery shopping, how about that expensive cup of coffee each day? Taking unnecessary trips in the car costing more gas than you can afford. When you analyze the cost you accrue from expenses that our not needs of everyday life, its additional income that can be used to pay down debt.
Rule #3 its okay to tell people no. I deal with people asking me for money all the time and it boils my skin to the depths of the Earth. I’m not filthy rich; I’m human just like everyone else. I’d like to have just one week where I can enjoy the money that I’ve earned from all of my hard work, not giving it away to people who can’t manage their own spending habits. Sometimes you have to lie in order to protect yourself from those who could care less about what you do or don’t have.
Rule #4 stop attempting to live beyond your means. Some people have this engrained thinking that they have to impress those surrounding them. Rather it’s purchasing items to belong to the group, or attempting to live a lavish lifestyle that you can’t afford. The cost of items will indeed add up, and what are you left with at the end: debt.
Rule #5 create a balanced budget. Its imperative to know what income you have coming in each month, as well as your total expenses. With those two figures in the forefront you can analyze how much money you have to put away for savings, as well as how much excess cash you have to spend on paying off your credit card debt.
Rule #6 pay off debt that contains the highest interest rate. Those pesky department store charges carry some of the highest interest rates. So if you’ve incurred quite a bit of debt on one of those charges be sure to pay that debt down as much as possible.
Rule #7 you have to treat yourself. Remember just because you work does not mean you’re not entitled to things, it just means purchase those things in moderation. Decide what are necessities, wants and items you see everyone else with. If it’s something you really want and you’ve sacrificed all year long paying bills, debt and helping others, it’s something you deserve.
Okay everyone 2013 is right around the corner. Let’s get our savings accounts, checking accounts and budgets in check. Start off the New Year right and continue to prosper from that point forward.
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