Take charge of your finances. Don't let your finances take charge of you.
~ Stacy J. Coles
The holiday season is just around the corner and it seems to hit earlier every year. We already hear Christmas music in the stores and see decorated trees in display windows. Now, before you make your list and check it twice, take a minute to make sure your finances are able to handle the demands of the season.
This is the time of year when too many people run themselves further into debt, unnecessarily. But, there are ways to avoid this and take charge of your finances before they take charge of you.
First, go back to the basics of budgeting. Make a list of all your bills, starting with the smallest and ending with the biggest.
Second, if you can, make a little extra payment (even if it's $5 or $10) on the smallest bill until it gets paid off. Once it's paid off, apply that entire monthly payment to the next bill on your list as additional principle. Continue until the second bill is paid off. Once it's paid off, apply that entire monthly payment to the next bill on your list as additional principle. Are you seeing a pattern here? I promise, it works. If you stick to this, you will be amazed at how fast you can pay off bills.
Third, put something into a savings account every month ~ even if it's five dollars. If you have the option, have a set amount automatically taken out of every paycheck and directly deposited into your savings account. That way, you won't see it; you won't miss it. And when your monthly bank statement arrives, you'll be pleasantly surprised to see your money is growing.
As far as the holidays go, don't spend what you don't have. If you know now there's something you will want to buy for Christmas, make a plan, set aside some money, and buy it free and clear when the time comes. The holidays will be a lot less stressful knowing there won't be a huge bill in the mail after the New Year.
Don't be afraid of the holidays approaching. By making sure your finances are in tact and a little planning, you will be ready to deck the halls without breaking the bank.