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Hi. I am a 21 year old man from New Brunswick, Canada. I work a full time job and make $1800 per month. I am looking for some budgeting advice in order to pay down my debts. Here is my financial situation: 1) I pay $200/month for rent. 2) I pay approximately $300/month in minimum payments on my two credit cards with a total balance of approximately $3000. 3) I owe $3000 in personal loans from family members and friends which I am not currently paying back. 4) I pay about $250/month in utilities. I find it hard to keep track of the rest of the money and I struggle to make it from paycheck to paycheck without using my credit cards. Any info you wish to share would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Hi. I am a 21 year old man from New Brunswick, Canada. I work a full time job and make $1800 per month. I am looking for some budgeting advice in order to pay down my debts. Here is my financial situation: 1) I pay $200/month for rent. 2) I pay approximately $300/month in minimum payments on my two credit cards with a total balance of approximately $3000. 3) I owe $3000 in personal loans from family members and friends which I am not currently paying back. 4) I pay about $250/month in utilities. I find it hard to keep track of the rest of the money and I struggle to make it from paycheck to paycheck without using my credit cards. I have absolutely no savings and transportation to and from work is not tweakable - I live an hour away from my job and moving is not an option at this point. I'm just looking for advice on how to get things under control before I get in too far. Thanks in advance for any advice offered!
First, you need to know where your money is going. Make a list of every fixed expense you have throughout the year. That includes things like rent, insurance, magazine subscriptions, utility bills, as well as your credit card payments. Add them all up and divide by 12. (A spreadsheet program is very helpful for this.) The result is the minimum amount you have to put aside each month just to cover those expenses. Every time you get paid, immediately put that amount aside, preferably in a separate, interest bearing bank account, to pay those bills as they come in. Any money left over still has to cover things like food, gas, and incidental, day-to-day expenses, but at least now you know how much you've got for that. Next add up all your income. That's mostly going to be your pay checks, but might include stock dividends or bank interest on deposits. If your total income is less than your monthly expenses, you're in trouble. You have to adjust something or you're going to sink deeper in debt. Once you've got a handle on your cash flow (what I've just described is technically a "cash flow analysis") you can start tweaking your budget, expenditures and life style to accomplish what you want to do, like paying down debt (e.g., add payments on those personal loans to your budget). Credit card debt is the most expensive kind of debt, so you want to pay that down as quickly as you can. Once it gets to zero, pay off the cards in full every month. That alone will save you thousands of dollars every year. I use a four column ledger (available at most stationary stores) to keep track of all that, but you can figure out a system that works for you or get software like Quicken or Louisiana Money to help. In the end, it all comes down to discipline. You have to manage your money. Don't let it manage you.
So far, so good. I, too, was in debt when I was just starting out and I made it my business to pay off my debts as quickly as possible. You're doing it the right way -- kill the interest as fast as possible. most likely, your major expenses that can't be changed are: taxes rent utilities cost of getting to work each day -- *** everything else can be and should be examined for ways to cut costs: food -- eating anything out is expensive unless it's included in your job alcohol and smokes -- give these up for awhile seeing the ladies -- they'll like you better when you're solvent assuming the banks are nicking you for 30% per annum interest, it'll take you about a year to pay them out -- best strategy is to pay the minimum on the larger debt and then pay off the small one as quickly as possible. [You'll feel great when you do this.] Then, [and still while not adding to the debt], devote all the available money to paying off the other one. Your family will probably take another year to pay off and I recommend doing this as well. And then give each family member a 10% of the original amount 'bonus' -- this will also feel good and serves to mark you as solvent in the family. then you can re-evaluate your spending and you'll have the $300 a month that now goes into your credit cards with which to improve your life. GL
Get Quicken to track your expenses. www.quicken.com Using credit cards to help ends meet shows you are clearly living beyond your means. You need to cut spending (which I don't know where it is going) and/or increase your earnings. As for cutting expenses. No dining out, no drinking, no smoking, cheap used cars, drive less take public transportation, turn back your thermostat in the summer and winter, no fancy vacations, no ballgames, no parties, no cable, try Netflix instead of going out to movies. All sorts of things you can do to cut expenses. Good luck.
You can make better decisions if you know where your money is going. This would help you save money quite easily. Money management tools can make this task simple, they help you to set up your saving goals and spending limits and receive automated alerts when you approach the target to minimize your debt, control your spending.