You made the resolution to get into financial shape in 2020, so now what? All of us are trying to come up with a way to change the thing we’ve been complaining about since February of this year. We make resolutions to make things different, but we’re rarely able to keep our promises. A lot of people made the promise that 2019 was their year; they were going to get in shape and stun the people at their high school reunion. They went hard in January, crowding the local gyms and frustrating the people who’ve been working out. By February, they’d either hurt themselves by pushing too hard or given up because they had unrealistic expectations.
Not all people make the resolution to work out more and get into better physical shape. Some people resolve to get into better financial shape, but they usually end up spinning their wheels because they’re not sure how to get there. It’s pretty easy to give up when you’re trying to dig out of the hole of debt, because it can feel like you’re never getting ahead. However, if getting into financial shape is your plan for 2020, here are some great ways to get started!
Was it Worth it?
One thing that everyone in debt has in common is that we’re all asking whether or not that new couch or those expensive shoes were really worth it. Chances are, it probably wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean you have to resent your purchases and not get any enjoyment out of them. Let your five hundred dollar pair of heels that you really couldn’t afford serve as a reminder to make better financial decisions in the coming year!
• Get a Number – The first thing you need to do to get out of debt is to figure out how much debt you’re in. This is the scariest part, because you’re going to have to admit to yourself that charging your Starbucks order every day was probably a dumb idea in hindsight. Add everything up and try not to become overwhelmed. This is the jumping off point and everyone who has ever gotten out of debt has been at this point. Write the number down, where you can see it, and proceed to the next step.
• Make a Plan – If you’re in minor debt, it may be as simple as sacrificing your daily coffee fix, quitting smoking, or giving up your premium cable package. Figure out how much extra month you can throw at the debt every month and draw out a plan of how long it will take. Stick to it and you’ll see things happen pretty quickly. If you’re in serious and overwhelming debt, your first step should be making an appointment with a financial planner or a debt service (a FREE one). They will help you figure out the best way to dig out of your debt and still afford to live. Also, don’t be embarrassed, they’ve seen worse.
• Stick To It – It’s easy to make the commitment to get out of debt, until we start to see those available balances again. Then we get all heart eyes thinking we should reward ourselves for our financial sense. No! Put the card down. Do not use it. That’s how you got here to begin with. If you want to reward yourself for your financial prowess, then start saving your change or your dollar bills and buy yourself a mocha at the local coffee shop one day. Stick to your plan. It’s going to feel so good when you don’t have the debt cloud following you around.
• Make Smarter Purchases – Okay, so you’re almost out of the hole. What do you do? How do you stay out of that cycle? Here’s a pretty simple trick. Don’t buy anything on credit that you can’t afford to pay cash for. If you need to use your card for an emergency, make the effort to pay it off as soon as possible. Revert back to your savings mode and pay it down.
If you’re resolving yourself to getting back into fighting shape financially, realize that it’s going to probably require some small sacrifices. Once you commit yourself to your plan, you’ll find the weight of debt slowly lifting from your shoulders. Don’t give up!