During a time where States and local districts are beginning to loosen the restrictions to venture outdoors for personal pleasure, such as shopping and dining out, many Americans may develop an urge to spend above our means. This is the perfect time to change some of your spending habits. Whether you are operating a business or managing a household, below are a few tips to help you weather the storm.
Consider Your Current Financial Picture
This is the first and most important step to changing your spending/operating pattern. Think of it this way, if you do not know where you are, then how are you going to know where you are going. You have to take a snapshot of your current finances. For businesses, look at your assets and your liabilities. In addition, what are your expenses? Is the revenue matching or exceeding your spending? Households need to do the same thing, measure your income against your spending. Consider your fixed costs, such as rent/mortgage, car payment, tuition, food, etc. Then look at what you have left.
Picture Your Debt
Take an assessment of your credit cards. Write out a detailed listing of your credit cards, monthly minimum payments, outstanding balance and interest for each card. Paying off your debt should be your focus, as you are more than likely paying an excessive amount of interest, somewhere between 19% - 27% on most credit cards. Businesses need to determine their level of debt as well, including line of credit and loans.
Create Your Plan
Plan how to start making changes. One area to consider is your current spending habits. Change does not stop all leisure activities and spending; it involves taking control your spending. The plan would include day to day spending changes, methods of how to proceed with paying off debt, for example, paying more than the minimum balance on the smallest credit card balance first or using some of your savings to pay off a charge card.
Invest In Yourself
Start a savings plan or increase your investments. This would include a rainy-day fund as well as savings for holiday or special events.
Join us for the next few weeks, as we walk you through each of the above areas. We will include exercises and material to help you adjust to YOUR new normal. So this week, change your thinking as we work to change your financial picture.