Monday, July 9, 2012

Monthly Budget Planning in 6 Easy Steps - Step 1

Watch Your Savings Bloom

Do you have more month than money?  Are you not checking your mailbox because you know there are bills waiting for you?  Do you feel that the money goes out as soon, if not before, the money comes in?  Are you working two jobs and thinking how you can fit in another job just to pay your bills?

You're NOT Alone.

We can take the easy road and blame it on our parents.  But, if we did that, would we be any further ahead?  Probably not.  We would still be victims.  WE ARE NOT VICTIMS!

Before you start grabbing your statements and bills, ask yourself how and why you are in this situation.  That's what DH and I had to do, and I'm sure many other people before and after us have done.  We, all of us, find ourselves over-extended from time to time and sometimes to no fault of our own.

I think more families have filed bankruptcy in the last 10 years (since 2001) than ever before.  I don't know that for a fact, but looking at the unemployment rate, listening to CEOs say labor costs in the United States are too high, lack of new jobs (and these are the minimum wage positions), watching our jobs leave the country, the housing market bubble that burst, the world economy as of mid 2011, and the reasons go on and on.  I'm sorry to say that those situations are out of most of our hands.  It sucks!

Whatever your reasons are for finding yourself in this predicament, we are going to see what can be done.  We really are much more powerful than we give ourselves credit.

Let's start with the basics.  Take a deep breath.  No one can eat an entire sheet cake in one bite.  We will nibble, devour, separate the icing from the cake, and enjoy the process over time.

The FIRST step is to find out what your credit look like.

Americans are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus within a 12-month period.   What many people do is have one report ran every four months.  For example: Have Experian run a report in January, Transunion in May, and Equifax in September.  Repeat.

The reason you want to look at your report is to see if there are any comments, what accounts are showing active, or accounts that you don't even know about.  The reports may even show different information.

Now you can address issues and start cleaning up your credit.  I know this doesn't help reduce the bills today but it's our first step and and very good step at that.

Now, over to you.

Do you have favorite links or forms that you'd like to share?  If you have a website and have created a form, please add the specific link to the form or similar type post below.

Good luck and congratulations on your first step to owning your finances,

P.S., Please seek a financial adviser for in-depth analysis of your particular situation.  We are not financial advisers but have been in similar situations and want to pass along our experiences. 

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