LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS. ALWAYS. NO EXCEPTIONS. PERIOD. Follow a good budget. Give each spouse a small allowance so you have a little discretionary money each month, and don’t nitpick each other on the little things.
“Benjamin Franklin started his life broke, but he created wealth by first working for a wage and saving every penny he could, all the while intentionally planning for and taking action on achieving his dreams.” “He taught that the key to financial success is to live within your means. This simple concept is seldom followed, and those who don’t follow it always struggle financially.” From ‘Financial Fitness’ by Orrin Woodward
So, some of you may read this and think, “Yeah, easier said than done.” I get it. Been there done that. Getting started is actually the hardest part, and not because it’s hard to get the money to get out of debt, it’s because people don’t actually know what money is.
You have to understand todays system of currency and how it came to be in order to totally understand what money is and how you can leverage this knowledge to use the money system in your favour. We are living in a fiat currency system.
What is fiat currency? You’ve heard the term before but probably don’t really understand what is meant by it, but THAT, my friend, is by design. The banking cartels don’t want you to understand it.
I’ve written a summary article detailing the basics of the fiat currency system that you can get by going HERE.
Knowing the function of money and understanding how the money system is used against you is vital for you to take control of your finances and prosper. The article I just mentioned summarizes the systems of control throughout the ages and explains the “why” of our money system. Go get it, read it and you’ll get a better sense of why it’s so important to get financially free, as soon as possible!
So HOW does a person get started? What is the best thing to do FIRST to make sure you get off on the right foot? Well, I’ll make it simple with a list. Plan for ONE FULL DAY of working on this. If you have a partner, you must do this together. If it is going to cause a fight, then be prepared to fight because if you love your partner, laying down a good budget is essential for the success of you BOTH. Be loving, positive and patient, but work out a budget and follow it. In the long term it will save your relationship and make you both free from the bondage of debt so that your dreams can become reality.
MAKE A BUDGET
- Get a sheet of paper and List your Monthly Income(s) and total it up. List only Actual income, NOT “If-come” that you hope to receive if this or that transpires. divide it into 12 columns for each month of the year (or a separate sheet for each month). Using a spreadsheet software makes this easy, but if you don’t have it on your computer, use actual paper and pencil.
- Next, below that list ALL of your monthly expenses, even the $20 you borrowed from your family or friends. Include irregular or periodic expenses like home or car repairs, property taxes, etc. Dig out your receipts. Open up your online banking or get your bank statements and see where you are spending your money. Total it all up and put that total under ‘Miscellaneous’ or ‘Unnecessary Spending‘ or whatever title you want to give it. Just make sure you include every dime you spend. You want the most accurate picture of your spending that you can possibly get. No fooling around. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt, but just DO IT.
- Subtract the expenses from the incomes. If you have a positive balance, great! If you have a negative balance, then you are technically BROKE and you need to figure out how to get a positive cash flow as quickly as possible.
- Do up a realistic and effective Budget now that you have the real figures in front of you. Plan on remaking your budget every month since every month will be different but the goal is to move forward with getting debt free and building a savings account. There will be things you can cut out of your budget to free up extra cash like cutting out cable, eating out, coffee stop on your way to work, etc. Scour your budget to cut unessential spending. Be brutal and committed, but also realistic.
So that is the starting point and it will take you a good day to get the plan down on paper. It is probably going to be a mentally painful exercise, but I guarantee you that a huge weight will lift off your shoulders when you’ve got it done. Don’t shove that budget plan in a drawer somewhere and forget about it and then go back to your destructive ways. I suggest taping it up where you can be reminded daily of your goals. Magnet it to your fridge, tape it by your office desk or if you did it on a spreadsheet, save it to your desktop so that it’s right there as soon as you open your computer.
LOOK AT IT EVERY DAY and repeat to yourself that you will achieve your Goals. Here is an example of a budget sheet…
Now the NEXT Step on the way to becoming Financially Free, is Debt Reduction. You’ve already dug out all your bills to make your budget, so keep them out as we’ll need to glean info from them to reduce your debt in a healthy and quick way. I highly recommend the Debt Reduction Calculator tool from Life Leadership. They have an App that allows you to save on hundreds of purchases, earn rewards and has a spending tracker and debt reduction calculator to help you get control of your finances. You plug in All of your debts and then it gives you 3 different ways you can choose to pay down your debt. One is highest interest debt first, another is smallest debt first and the third way is a combination of both. It automatically does the calculations to save you the most money and pay your debts off the fastest.
So Again, List Form is Helpful to get straight in your mind the steps needed. Get another piece of paper or at the bottom of your Budget spreadsheet format in rows and columns…
- List All of your Debts. Beside each debt in separate columns note the Balance owing, the interest rate being charged, the monthly payment and how many months left on the debt.
- Decide which bills you want to pay off first. If you decide to pay off the smallest one first, make a plan to put every spare penny against that debt to get it paid off as quickly as possible while still meeting all of your regular debt payments. Try to find enough to double the monthly payment amount.
- Once that debt is paid off, cross it off your list. If it is a small credit card, CUT THE CREDIT CARD UP and call the card company to cancel the account. NOTE**If you only have one credit card you will want to keep it, just put it somewhere that you won’t be tempted to use it and run the balance back up again.. OR… If it is a card you use all the time, don’t pay it off first… choose another debt that once paid off you can cancel the account.
- Now Here Is The Most Important Element to paying off your debts. Once you have paid off the first debt and cancelled it, take the monthly payment amount that you normally put against this debt and roll it into the payment for the next debt you want to pay off.
- Once you pay off that 2nd debt, choose what will be the next debt you want to pay off quickly and roll the monthly payment amount from debt #1 and debt #2 into the monthly payment amount for debt #3. As each debt is paid off, you combine the monthly payment amounts from each of those debts and roll it onto the next debt. See Example Below.
- If you have debts with high interest rates, you may decide to pay them off first, rather than those with the smallest owing balance. You will have to figure out what is most important to you. Getting a small debt crossed off the list is very encouraging and satisfying and can help you build momentum. I recommend getting the smallest debt paid off first so that you have that extra monthly payment amount to put towards those higher interest debts. This is one of the reasons why I recommend investing in the Life Leadership App… it does all the calculations for you and continues to recalculate as debts are paid down, finances change or you need to add new data.
- So now, it’s a matter of rinse and repeat. Be realistic. It took you a long time to accumulate the debt, it will take a good amount of time to pay back the debt. If it’s feasible, take a 2nd job for a year and take that income to smash down as much debt as possible in that time frame. It will give you breathing space and if you’re working many hours you’re not as likely to be spending the money that is taking you so many hours to earn. Discipline is a hard thing to get a handle on if you’ve never had to do it before. Be patient with yourself but be committed and persistent.
So Here is the Example of how the Debt Rolldown works:
- Debt #1 monthly payment amount $59. Do some odd jobs to earn an extra $59 to make double payments and pay this off quickly. When paid off add that monthly payment of $59 that you were used to paying, to Debt #2 payment.
- Debt #2 monthly payment amount $100 + $59 = $159. When paid off add that monthly payment of $159 that you were used to paying, to Debt #3 payment.
- Debt #3 monthly payment amount $300 + $159 = $459. When paid off add that monthly payment of $459 that you were used to paying, to Debt #4 payment.
- Debt #4 monthly payment amount $800 +$459 = $1259. Do you see how quickly you can pay these debts off when implementing a plan like this?
It is recommended, if possible, to take a part time job and take every dime you clear from that job to put against debts. If you could work 15 extra hours a week you’d have about $500 a month to pay off debts. Most small credit cards can be paid off in a couple of months that way.
Credit cards, with their extremely high interest rates should be top priority to get paid off and cancelled. They are vampires to your wealth.
The page on Credit Cards should open your eyes a bit more as to how much of your money the credit card companies are sucking out of you!!
Toodles for now! ~Callie
**Note** I’m building a community of like minded folks who have the desire to learn as much as they can so that they can better control their finances, and thus, their futures. I’ll be doing some live streams on dlive so part of the purpose of building a community list is so that those who are interested in participating in real-time classes can be notified. If you stay subscribed, I’ll send out notices of when the streams are going to take place with the link to them. Unsubscribing to the list is easy enough to do if you so desire as it’s totally automated by the autoresponder company I use (Aweber).