Many of us plan to get better about our finances and may even set goals for the new year, but how many of us really follow through with the plan? Studies show that less than half of Americans report having a legitimate budget outlined for their money and expenses. Even fewer report finding any importance behind the idea of budgeting. With bankruptcy filings and personal debt burdens at record highs, isn’t it time we all became more focused on managing our money more efficiently?
Managing Your Dollars
It is reported that the average family carries three or more active credit cards, each supporting balances of thousands of dollars. From this we must assume that even those of us that do claim to have a budget must not be following it appropriately. The purpose of a budget is to allocate your funds to specific expenses to ensure proper payment and to minimize overspending in frivolous categories.
The problem is that most people do not view their debt accounts as essential expenses, rather tend to see items such as housing, food and clothing as essential. Because our debts are our responsibility they absolutely should be prioritized. This means that your monthly budget should include payments for your debts and the more the better. Rather than spending money on that cup of coffee on the way to work or eating out for lunch each day, use that extra money for repaying your debts quicker. The sooner you eliminate your debts, the sooner your budget can free up space for fun, non-essential expenses like that new pair of shoes or flat screen TV.
If you are one of those who have yet to set a budget, now is the time. It is never too late to take control of your finances. Credit counseling services offer affordable resources to help anyone learn to create a budget, get out of debt and manage their money more efficiently.