- Free yourself from money worries by developing a budget.
- A budget is a simple spending plan designed to help you pay your bills and save for goals that are important to you.
- If you're married or have a family, decide goals together. One person may handle the record keeping, but both should be involved in deciding how the money is spent.
- Review your budget every six months to see if changes are needed. If you get a pay raise or your rent is increased, revise your budget accordingly.
- Live within your budget or change it to best reflect your income, expenses, and goals.
- Set-up a home record keeping system that is easy to use.
- Start an emergency fund. Payroll deduction can make that easy.
Ten Most Common Money Mistakes
Financial experts feel these are the ten most common money mistakes:
- Not setting up and sticking to a budget.
- Not establishing a savings plan.
- Not keeping adequate financial records.
- Not setting up an up-to-date will and estate plan.
- Neglecting insurance protection including auto, disability, health, life, and property.
- Not setting long-range financial goals and objectives.
- Shying away from professional advice when it is needed.
- Going too far into debt. Credit cards can be hazardous to your wealth if you abuse them.
- Doing your own taxes when you don't have the knowledge.
- Not educating yourself financially.
Can't pay the bills?
There are several things you should do. Recognize the problem. Be aware of the danger signals including:
- Not knowing how much you owe
- Frequently making late payments
- Paying only the minimum balance required
- Spending more than 20 percent of your income on debts
- Stop spending. Get control over your finances, don't let them control you.
- Act quickly. Contact your creditors. Explain the situation and your concerns.
- Be honest. Never make promises to a creditor that you'll not be able to keep.
- Consider a consolidation loan. Combining your debts into one payment may be helpful.
- Seek financial counseling. Lake Trust offers free one-on-one financial counseling assistance. Community colleges, religious organizations, and cooperative extension services also offer free or low-cost assistance.
- Modify your lifestyle. Consider increasing your income and/or reducing your spending.
- Avoid bankruptcy. There are substantial long-term consequences to filing bankruptcy - it can blemish your credit rating up to ten years and deny you certain employment opportunities. Bankruptcy is not an easy way out. Call Lake Trust Credit Union for help.