Valdosta Daily Times


January 6, 2013

Budget Diary: Create a new “you”


VALDOSTA — 3. Get your debt in check.

Vow to make this year the year you get your debt under control. I know that it can seem overwhelming to lay it all out, but knowing how much you owe is step number one.

I know that a lot of you have student loan debt, but leave that debt out of your initial plan. Let’s face it, there’s a big difference in paying off $3,000 versus $60,000.

Go through all your credit cards, store credit cards, personal loans and medical bills. Make a list of how much you owe on each one.

Next, look at the interest rates. The debt with the highest interest rate is the debt you want to pay off fastest. Go through and work out how much you can afford to put towards each debt amount.

Remember, in order to put a dent in anything, you need to be making over the minimum payment.

Once you get everything in perspective, set a fool proof plan for yourself with goals. Know that in “x” amount of months you want to pay off “y” amount of debt.

Often times, when you develop a plan, that will help resolve the stress that your debt causes.

4. Don’t try to be a smarty pants.

You may think that you know everything about money, but the fact is that if you’re not Clark Howard, you probably don’t know as much as you think.

When me and Cameron were thinking about buying a house, we went and talked to a broker. He ran our credit, went through all of our debt and told us how much of a down payment we needed to save and how much debt we needed to pay down.

If you really want to get your finances in check, go talk to a money manager, your Certified Public Accountant or even your bank. My bank has people that will talk to you about money free of charge, and many other banks offer the same services.

Even if you aren’t able to invest money or play in the stock market, it’s always a good idea to get a snapshot of your financial reality so you can paint a picture of your financial future.

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