Career Woman

8 tips to get your debt and finances in control

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Feeling swamped by financial concerns, with credit charges piling up and debt seeming to be out of control? You are not alone; so many people are in the same place as you.  But finances are not the untameable beast they might seem, and can reined in with some simple steps. Below are some strategies to help get things back in place.

Step 1 – acknowledgement

Accepting things are out of control and you are not in control of your finances is step one, and of course, it’s critical that you want to do something about it. 

Step 2 – review

Sit down with pen and paper and write everything down.  What do you owe on credit cards?  What loans or finances do you have?  What do you spend on everything from food to rent plus also on ‘stuff’ which is often just wasteful spending.

Step 3 – do up a budget

Whether you are a business or an individual, a budget is critical.  Yes, it can mean discipline, but often I call a budget “profit planning”.   In anything it’s wise to plan and let’s face it, if you can’t get a budget to balance on paper  (or in a spread-sheet) then you have no chance of making it work in real life. 

Step 4 – credit cards  

This is a common problem with struggling finances.   There are many strategies around these; some as simple (and harsh) as cutting them up.  Other strategies are softer, such as a label on your card “Do I need this?” or leaving the card at home when you go out shopping.   It may be consolidating all your cards to one and often dwindling down the cards comes back to your budget and discipline.  Once you have your card under control, try paying it off weekly, rather than letting it go until the end of the month.  Little bite size chunks (often on pay day) are far more manageable. 

Step 5 – mortgage

If you have a mortgage, when did you last have a quality mortgage broker review your figures?   If it was more than 3 years ago, I suggest you see a good one and have this reviewed; which should cost you nothing, but could save you heaps. 

Step 6 – set up a savings process

Quite often if we want anything these days – from a new piece of business wardrobe to a great overseas holiday — we just put it ‘on the plastic’ but instead, put aside $50 a week and watch those savings grow (in a separate savings bank account) so that you can purchase these treats with cash and not on credit.  It might also mean you have funds for any emergencies, such as unexpected medical expenses, which again means avoiding that dreadful plastic (credit card).  

Step 7 – get staff or family on board

If they don’t know there is a budget in place, how can they stick to the budget?  Family and team need to know your expectations re finances so that they can assist you in keeping on task.  It’s about being sensible, and yes, sometimes saying no to think which are not necessary.

Step 8 – review monthly   

Once you have started getting things on track, keep track of it all and keep monitoring.  Review your budget every month and see if you are ‘blowing out the budget’ or doing well.  

Many of us have experienced financial challenges, but the sooner you realise you are out of control and are ready to take action – the sooner you will get yourself and your money back on track.  

About Donna Stone

Donna Stone is a business coach with three decades of experience. She grew her own business from a garage to be a multi-award winning operation that spanned five locations nationally. Donna works with business owners and other business coaches, consultants and trainers to help them build their own success. Her Coach the Coach ™ program has proved exceedingly popular. Donna is a prolific writer with hundreds of articles written and six books published. Visit www.donna-stone.com.au

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