Group One: You have looked
at your income minus your outcome and found it to be 0 or a positive number.
This is good.
Group Two: You have looked at your income minus your outcome and found it to be a negative number. This can be fixed.
For either group:
Look back over your expenses. See
what you can reasonably cut out or down on.
Some will be very simple such as just eating out less or at less expensive places. Or drink water with your meal, that save $1.50-$2 per person and that adds up. If you go out twice a week, family of 4, get a meal and buy a drink at $1.80 each. In a month you have spent $57.60 before tax on...empty calories or artificial sweetners, take your pick. Add $14.40 for each additional person. It adds up.
Try making some small changes for a month. Be mindful of
washing clothes that are not dirty, think ahead so you can run your errands
all in one day or at least avoid backtracking. Try making your favorite restaurant
meal at home one night a week. Plan your menu so you use leftovers and fresh
foods before they have to be tossed. Make a grocery list from your menu, don't
buy what you don't need.
You don't have to wash clothes in the creek and fry up roadkill over a tire fire to save money, very small things add up to very large amounts over a month or a year. Coffee on the way to work? $40 a month. $480 a year. Saving $5 a week is $260 in a year. Saving $10 a week is $520 and $20 a week is over a thousand dollars. What can you modify right now?
Take on some kind of part time work. $100 each Saturday
waiting tables is $4-500 a month in income depending on how many Saturdays are
in the month. That's the car payment or groceries or savings.
Once you have your monthly expenses worked out, looked over your spending to see where you can cut back and added up all of your debt to see where you really stand, it's time to take more action.
Decide what your goal is. Getting out of debt? Going on a trip and paying cash? Paying for a major repair? Avoiding late fees and fines by being ahead of the game? Paying off a high-interest card?
Your goal is your personal deal, you could have any or all of the above, or something totally different. It does not matter. The key to reaching your goal is having a handle on your money.
Ways you stay in debt:
Spending money without a plan and not stopping until it's gone.
Not planning ahead and using bonuses wisely.
Not maintaining what you own.
Not saying no to children or your spouse about certain purchases.
Thinking you deserve an item or a vacation that you have not saved for.
Thinking you will be able to pay it off before the interest kicks in.
Not having some level of savings to dip into during tight times.
Not being able to control the 'wants' for new things.
Overspending and hoping for a bonus check to cover the difference.
Get yourself out of debt.