by James W. Stone
Top 5 Ways to Control Your Debt:
- Realize you are going to spend money so manage it – You are going to spend money whether you want to or not. Gain control by managing what you spend money for.
- Live by a business plan — Develop a business plan, ethics statement and policies and procedures for spending money. Businesses improve their chances for success when they have a business plan, ethics statement, and standardized purchasing policies and procedures. Improve money management by understanding what you want to accomplish in life (a life objective), know what your personal principles are, and develop habits that facilitate purchasing actions in your life.
- Don’t be a victim of someone else’s plan — Understand, if you don’t plan what you want to do with your money you will be a victim of someone who is planning what they want to do with your money. “Selling” is the sport of exchanging something the seller doesn’t need in order to get the buyer’s money.
- Get the most out of advertising — much of the advertising we encounter today is intended to spur us to an immediate action in an attempt to calm a fear, or satisfy a need we don’t know we have. Be alert and aware to what advertising is saying to you and make it educational. Don’t let it arouse your fears and desires.
- Changing spending patterns is easier than asking for a raise — Spare cash is what you have left after you pay your obligations. To increase spare cash, it is much easier to change your spending than it is to convince your boss to give you a raise.
Top 6 Ways to Avoid Debt
#1: Justify your spending. Ask Four Essential Questions before you buy:
1. What problem am I trying to solve?
2. Does this purchase solve the problem?
3. Are there other ways to solve the problem?
4. Does this purchase create new problems?
#2 Ask what can you really get for your money? — Even if you can justify your purchase, avoid debt. Instead of asking yourself “How can I pay for this?” Ask “What can I get for the money I have?”
#3 Keep your Debit Card in your Checkbook — Make entries in your check register every time you use your debit card. Your Debit Card is a “Check Card.” Remember to enter deposits and automatic payments, too. This will help you avoid bank penalties and overdraft charges. (Remember “debt” and “debit” have no similarity except the way they are spelled.)
#4 Give everyone in the house an allowance — Give everyone in your household a Spending Allowance. For adults, include enough money to cover their spending for clothing, gifts, and entertainment. For children, consider their capacity to grasp the concept of saving and planning. Give them money to spend when they go shopping with you, but don’t give them more just because they spent what you gave them. This will help protect the household budget from being raided by the needs of individuals. It also helps build responsible behavior in individual spending.
#5 View monthly payments as the same as working for free — Consider making monthly payments to be the same thing as losing part of your income. How many hours each week would you work for free in order to be given a big screen TV?
#6 Always be prepared for an emergency — An Emergency Fund of $500 is a lot better than no Emergency Fund at all. If you’re on a shoestring budget, an unplanned bill for $50 can have a domino effect on paying penalties. This is especially true if it creates an overdraft in your checking account. So, PLAN for emergencies by having an Emergency Fund. Just because you can’t build the fund to half a year’s expenses doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an Emergency Fund.
You Could Win! Click here to enter the Housewife Awards contest by July 6th for your chance to win a copy of “Spend Joyfully and a $10 Starbucks card.
James W. Stone, Author of Spend Joyfully!, a “how to” guide to living a life without debt while still spending money, believes that women spend on household “wants” and men spend on entertainment “wants.” These differences show how women are into nurturing and nesting whereas men are seeking tools and trophies. Either direction is landing men and women into a category of debt where they don’t know where their money is and where it’s going.