- Step 1: Simplify your filing Get organized for accurate accounting and simplify your filing system by tossing out old paperwork. Add up your total debt, writing down who you owe and at what interest rate, to get a realistic picture of where you stand.
- TIP: One way to cut down on the paperwork is to opt for your bills to be sent to your password-protected e-mail -- be paperless.
- Step 2: Review credit Review your credit report for accuracy. Consumers are entitled to a free credit report every year from a credit agency.
- Step 3: Live frugally Control your impulse spending and learn to distinguish needs related to survival from wants, so that you can live more frugally. Construct a calendar to track your bills and pay dates.
- Step 4: Store documents Store legal documents, stock certificates, mortgage papers, and insurance policies in a safe deposit or fire proof box for easy reference and safe keeping. Also, it would be wise to buy identity theft protection.
- Step 5: Engage credit counselor Engage a trained and certified counselor, if you are in dire straits, to set up a plan to organize your finances. Let the expert take you back to the basics in money matters.
- TIP: Research and read all you can about wise money management practices.
- Step 6: Save for emergencies Save for a rainy day to increase your net worth, arranging for an electronic payday transfer so you save automatically. Look for alternative or second jobs to add to the fund. Even if you stay at one job, seek ways to earn more for what you do. The higher your income, the more flexibility you have in your financial management.
- FACT: By 2010, the average credit card debt per household was $15,788, with an average APR of 14.35 percent.
You Will Need
- Credit report
- Safe storage
- Credit counselor