BY MIKI WRIGHT
Here are three simple steps to take charge of your money and start to put some new habits in place:
1. Where are you now? Start by writing down all of your expenses. This may sound simple, but if you haven’t been doing it in a while (or ever), you may need to take time to gather your bills together or download your bank statements for the last few months to see what you’ve been spending. Write them out starting with the necessities:
- Mortgage or rent payment
- Utilities: Electric, Water, Gas, Oil, etc.
- Transportation: including car payment, public transportation, parking or tolls if needed and don’t forget your auto insurance. You don’t want to let that lapse.
- Food: groceries, eating out, snacks, school lunches
Then you can move to the more flexible or variable expenses, such as, business expenses, cable, credit cards, childcare, and anything else you could technically live without, even though in an ideal world, you wouldn’t.
Next, list any and all income sources and how much you anticipate making. If you find that your only source of income is what you make standing behind the chair, it may be time to rethink that strategy and begin to consider adding other streams of income!
Now, write down what money (cash on hand), stocks, 401K or any other liquid assets you have on hand now or may be coming in the near future.—only list things that are pretty much a sure thing. After all, this is about getting clear on where you are right now.
Now that you have a clear picture on where you are now, next you can…
2. Contact your creditors. There may be more help than you realize.
After you’ve listed your expenses, take a look at your income. From the top down, what can you realistically pay in the foreseeable future? If the first step wasn’t hard enough, this is the time when you really have to pull up your big girl (or guy) pants, and get REAL. If you’re in a situation where you can’t really afford the necessities, trust that there is help available, but you will need to reach out.
Contact each and every creditor that you can’t pay. Let them know your situation, that you acknowledge the debt or expense and ask what they may be able to do to help you. As I said before, there may be more help available than you realize. They may be able to put some of your payments on hold/defer them, add them to the end of your loan or create a payment plan you can afford. NOTE: If you get someone who is rude and/or unhelpful, calmly thank them, hang up and call back to get a different (more helpful) person.
3. Cut the fat. What can you get away without right now? This doesn’t have to be a lifelong decision, but what can you cut down or cut out for the next 3-6 months until things turn around, either by increasing income or reducing your expenses or a combination of both? Things on the top of this list might include: canceling cable TV, checking to see if you can lower your cell phone plan, making minimum payments on credit cards or other less essential expenses, and shopping for store brands at the grocery store.
These 3 steps are very simple, but admittedly, they are not always easy to start and can be even harder to continue on a regular basis. But, I will promise you that if you’ll adapt theses simple steps, you will start to take charge of your money—both what’s coming in and what’s going out. You’ll make more ‘conscious’ decisions rather than impulsive buys. And with your newfound clarity, you may even find that you’re getting new ideas on how to increase your income! Wishing you peace on your journey.
P.S. If you would like more tips on getting your money back on track, visit www.BeautySuperStars.com for a special (FREE) gift. It’s a video that goes over a 7 Step Financial Survival Plan for Hairstylists.
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