By: Darrell Castle
As the new year gets into full swing, many of us are already nearing the ultra-defining “breaking point” for our New Year’s Resolutions- the point where we determine if the goal is attainable or too much to handle. For some of us, that means forging ahead full steam, while for others it can mean refining or tweaking our New Year’s Resolutions to be more reachable. Even still, some of us will fall to defeat, unable to hold on to our goals and dreams of success or renewal in the New Year.
According to Time Magazine “Get out of debt and save money” is one of the most commonly broken New Year’s Resolutions. This isn’t for lack of trying, but climbing one hundred percent out of debt can seem like a never-ending battle, one that is often given up too easily. According to Debt.org, financial burden can cause stress, unrest, denial, fear, panic and depression. It can also place tension in your personal relationships, with family and friends.
So how do you navigate through to worry-free territory when you feel like you’re about to sink in debt? Here are six tips to maintain those resolutions:
1- Be Realistic
While having optimistic goals will keep you motivated, setting goals that are both realistic and attainable will go further to heighten your sense of accomplishment. While each individual case is different, many people accumulate debt over a specific period of time. To pay that debt off, consider that it will take some time, and set milestones for yourself. Setting a goal to pay off 100% of debt by the end of the year may seem daunting, but setting a goal to pay down debt by a percentage each month or quarter makes your goal more reasonable and leaves you motivated throughout the year and helps against feeling helpless at the end of the year if the goal has not been met.
2- Monitor Your Credit
An FTC report released in early 2013 showed that 26% of Americans have an error on their credit report that could potentially affect their credit scores, loan terms or rates. Keeping an eye on your credit allows you to monitor for any discrepancies in your spending and keeps track of where your money is going. By keeping strict tabs on how you spend money, you can identify ways to pay off debt easier.
Also, monitoring your credit report helps you detect identity theft on your account, ensure creditors are reporting correctly, and enables you to take action on credit/debt problems before they get worse.
3- Build a Financial Foundation
Once you’ve established a plan to overcome your debt, a plan should be enacted that will prevent debt from rising again. By adopting a savings plan, tracking your spending and cutting out the things that aren’t necessary, you are able to create a solid foundation of money that will keep you from financial ruin, and stop you from living from paycheck to paycheck.
One of the most notable ways to stop spending and start saving is to take a look at the things you are spending on. Often times simple changes like clipping coupons, or eliminating one weekend activity gives you the ability to save, and can easily accumulate throughout the year.
4- Pay Bills on Time (or Early)
One easy way to stick to a savings plan is to eliminate the hassle of paying late fees or added interest. If you are able to make larger payments or set up automatic payments, this can save you hundreds throughout the year, which can help your debt/income ratio decrease.
5- Stop Bad Habits
Are you guilty of spending money each morning on a fast food breakfast? Do you smoke? Chances are, if you have a bad habit, it could be contributing to your debt. Even habits that cost what seems like a menial $5-$10 a time can add up to thousands throughout the year, and be a major source of financial strain. In addition to eliminating the costs of these bad habits, you could also get a boost to your health which is another common New Year’s Resolution.
6- Consider Bankruptcy as an Option
With the right team of attorneys by your side, filing for bankruptcy can be used as an opportunity for a fresh slate, and allow you to come out of the year debt free. Filing through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 allows you a unique opportunity to rebuild your credit score, pay off any outstanding debts that seem unreachable and give you hope for a brighter financial future.
Darrell Castle & Associates has decades of experience in helping victims get out of debt. We offer clients a FREE, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your history and options. If you think bankruptcy may be a solution for you, put your New Year’s Resolutions into overdrive by meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Call (901) 327-2100 to schedule your appointment today, or fill out one of the contact forms on this page to have someone contact you with more information.