The holidays are over but in most cases, paying back what we owe on our credit cards is far from being done. Here are some simple ways you can get yourself back on track and help you redirect your earnings and spending to improve your financial status and free up some of the weight off debts.
Review your spending over the holidays.
Check your credit card bills to assess where most of your spending went over the holidays. If you are adept at using a budgeting worksheet or an excel spreadsheet, lay them out and see how much was used. If you are able, categorize the items so that you can see where you may need to cut down moving forward. Visualizing the actual amount you may need to recover and then categorizing will give you the power to correct your spending priorities and focus on ways to save and slowly pay back what is owed.
Create strong realistic plans for your finances.
After knowing how much you need to pay back and the categories they belong, think of ways on how you plan to pay your debt slowly and consistently, the amount of budget you can only work on from your earnings and how you can reduce more spending in the days to come. Plan on how much you can save, purchases you can reduce or eliminate, and think of other means to pay back your debt through non-monetary means (i.e. rewards points).
Rebuild your savings and track your spending honestly, wisely and unfailingly for you to see if you are meeting your goal or if you’re deviating from what you are need to focus on.
Assess and identify ways to reduce expenses.
Check on the needs that you will have to spend on, in the next coming days. Other bills you may need to pay, food budget, household needs, family’s rotating expenses – lay them out and have a good projection of how much you still need to cover for the month so that you may know your required budget at the minimum level. Categorize the items just the same in your spread sheet to see the priorities for the month. Check which items you can eliminate that you initially thought you need, but you can actually live without. By doing so, you will be able to cut down on some stuff, or you may push back on obtaining items you may buy on a later time and just work on what is really needed based on the funds you can only work on.
Knowing how much you need to allot for the month and how much you can only pay back on your debt, will help you budget your incoming funds and track down your priorities so that you will not fall short with the earnings you will receive. Be mindful and aware of where your money is going so will not have to overspend in the days to come.
Scout for measures to pay back what you owe through non-monetary means.
Check the rewards points on your card. See if there are reduced rates for balance transfers. Know if there are repayment plans being offered from your bank. Return items you may have bought out of impulse for yourself that you don’t actually need or have come to regret. There are good retailers that have substantial return policies that can help consumers for returned items within a generous time frame. Reach out and contact retailers, even if you don’t have your receipt, to know if they can track down your transaction with your debit or credit card and ask for refund information on items you wish to return.
Whether it is through refund, repayment plans, balance transfers or rewards points you were able to get to lower the monthly payoff of your debt, be sure to track them continuously to make sure that your financial goals are met and you are able to allot the funds to other budget buckets you may still need to prioritize.
Save, save, save and monitor your accounts.
Having to sacrifice some luxuries you are used to do can help reduce the expenses and allow you to save some cash. Avoid impulse buying, or buying stuff out of influence of others around you when you know that you have other primacies to focus on. Minimize eat outs or out of plan trips that you know will lead to spending more than what you have projected. Think of ways to earn a bit more when possible, sell items you may have not used or you no longer need that you think are still in top condition. Whatever the means you were able to come up with to save funds, make sure that your monies go to the right financial buckets of your goal. Whether it is to make double payments for your credit card, to rebuild your emergency funds or to boost your retirement contributions, what is important is you make it a habit to reach your goal in putting yourself to financial stability and eventually financial freedom.