Black Friday

The [tag]Friday after thanksgiving[/tag] is the day retailers open stores early and offer deep discounts on their products. Will you be there? Some people make it a tradition to venture out to the malls to do combat with other deal seekers. My opinion is its fine to take part in this [tag]American tradition[/tag] as long as you stay with in your [tag]budget[/tag]!

Ooops did I say the “B” word. Sorry to rain on your parade but just cause they have everything on sale does not mean you have to buy everything! I personally don’t think my family will take part in [tag]Black Friday[/tag]. Unless we hear of a good deal.

We started our [tag]Christmas shopping[/tag] about 3 weeks ago. For two reasons, one to avoid the rush and two, to try and keep cost down, so far so good…

So if you will be one of the brave souls heading to the mall on Friday may the force be with you. You will need it.

Free Debt Tools

[tag]Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007[/tag] is a [tag]free accounting tool[/tag]! I was amazed to see no charge for this product. I personally bought [tag]Money 2004[/tag] and still use it today. I have said this many times but having a budget is really the only way you will [tag]get out of debt[/tag].

Budget let’s you see the numbers and numbers don’t lie. A [tag]budget[/tag] also allows you to make an accurate game plan for debt pay off. A budget allows you to measure your progress and gives you motivation as you work your way out of debt.

If you are not a fan of [tag]Microsoft[/tag] you can use budgetmaster. It’s a [tag]free open source personal budgeting program[/tag]. I also did a search on [tag]Google[/tag] for free budgeting tools and the result are here. So pick your tool and take action. Start your journey out of debt. Make the plan and mange to your goals.

You will be crushing your debt in no time!

A budget is not Evil

But living with out one can be…

Some people say [tag]budgets[/tag] are “evil” or the big bad “B” word. I don’t get it. Maybe I am just one of those people who think you should know where your money is going, at all times.

A budget is simply a term for measuring the [tag]income[/tag]and outflow of your money. Having a realistic budget and sticking to it is the only real way to get out of debt.

Everyone is looking for the “Silver Bullet” or the quick fix, but guess what? They don’t exist, unless you win the lottery. That aside there really is no quick fix to [tag]getting out of debt[/tag]. There are no letters that will make your debt disappear with out completely trashing your credit.

1. It starts with creating a budget and sticking to it!
2. Keeping current on all your debts
3. Reducing your costs. (Example Less take out food and more home cooking.)
4. Increase your income. Ebay is a great way to raise some money from your old junk.
5. Apply the new found income to one debt at a time.
6. Apply over and over until all debt is paid.

It really is that simple. Time, Dedication, Motivation and Action!

You can pay [tag]Dave Ramsey[/tag] for his books or his website but that’s what he will teach/preach you. Of course there will be a few small differences from one expert to another, for example Ramsey will says attack the smallest debt first and others say take the highest interest rate cards first.

This debate will rage on into infinity. But one fact will always remain if you do not take action you will not change your financial situation. If you are not willing to make a budget you might as well give up now. With out a plan you are 99% on your way to failure. So take out some time right now and grab a pen and paper, open an excel sheet, fire up quicken or [tag]MS money[/tag] and get to it.

It really is not that hard and it will put you on the road out of debt.

Holiday Budgets

[tag]Halloween[/tag] is just around the corner and if you have kids this can really screw up your monthly budget. It is reported Americans will spend $4.96 billion this year on Halloween related stuff. Candy, costumes, party stuff, etc… I know our family will spend $80 this year on Halloween. $30 on a costume for our child and the rest for candy decorations and little party we are planning.

How do I know I will spend $80 this year? Because we budgeted for it! That’s the key. Our child will have a great Halloween and we will not suffer from a financial hangover 30 days later. This holds true for Christmas. We already have our [tag]budget[/tag] and have saved all year to meet that goal. Again we want to avoid holiday financial hangovers.

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on holidays that revolve around kids; because we all want our children to be happy. But it’s a balancing act which requires discipline from the parents. By budgeting you create a win, win situation for everyone.

Don’t let this post scare you out of having a good time this Halloween but do keep your monthly budget in mind as you head out to the stores in the next couple weeks.

Heating Bills Down

A report form the Energy Department is predicting gas bills will be down about $119 this year. If this is the case, this is a great opportunity to use it to pay off more debt. :)

The bad news is if you use oil to heat your home your bill will be about $91 from last year. Time now to budget for this up tick.

Families using natural gas should expect to pay an average of $119 less during the upcoming winter compared to last year, a decrease of 13 percent, the Energy Department said.

Associated Press Business News: Winter Heating Bills Likely to Be Lower – MSN Money

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Tools for debt reduction

If you want to get serious about reducing debt you need to check out Net Worth IQ.com. What is NetWorthIQ? In their own words; “NetworthIQ is a social personal finance manager designed to make monitoring your net worth easy and, dare we say it, maybe even fun.”

Again it goes back to the simple rule I live by, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Getting out of debt is all about budgeting, cutting cost, and applying as much income to pay down debt. This is a free service so sign up and start your road to freedom

No one wants a physical, but we all need one now and then, just to keep tabs on our well being. Your finances deserve nothing less, and determining your net worth is a good first step. It’s all about keeping track of your overall financial health.

Track, share, and compare Net Worth. How do you measure up? NetworthIQ

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Too much paper work

We suffered from the same issues until I decided enough was enough. I pulled out a regular sized envelope and each month we take receipts and put them into the envelope. This is a daily task and everyone in our household is on board. But before the receipts go in the envelope it goes into Microsoft money so we can track our expenses.

We are all about the budget. Yes the “B” word. Get over it, it’s really not that bad.

Each month we get a new envelope and start over again. It now it’s a house hold habit and we are much more in control of our paper work and finances.

If you asked me to find a receipt to return something – I would be looking for hours. My paper files are an absolute mess for this year. I have about three places around the house where there are piles of papers that are just waiting for their homes.

Blogging Away Debt » Blog Archive » What Number Confession am I on Now??

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You need a debt plan

If you are serious about getting out of debt than it all starts with creating a game plan. In this case you need to know how much money you have coming into the household and how much is going out of the household. Once you know how much money you have left at the end of the month you can then add the extra to your debts and create a debt crushing snowball.

I hate to say it but it all starts with a budget. You have to have a BUDGET if you want to get out of debt. If you do not figure out your household budget you will fail at your debt reduction efforts.

If you can not measure it you will not be able to manage it. Period!

People would rather go to the dentist and have teeth pulled than create and live by a written budget. Like anything worth while it just takes a bit of discipline and desire. With out these two “magic” ingredients getting out of debt will be tough and almost impossible.

So get real honest with yourself and know your future and the future of your family are dependent on you taking control of your financial destiny. Once you have a budget you have a game plan.

Would a football team enter the super bowl with out a game plan?
Would we try and land men on the moon with out a plan?
Would your Doctor cut you open with out a plan?

No!!!  Getting out of debt is no different.

So take the time to create a game plan and stick to it. This is the key to getting out of debt. There are no silver bullets or magic pills. Just hard work and desire and I believe each and every one of you can do this. It will be hard but in the end getting out of debt is simply to important to not take the challenge.

 

Even the Rich Budget

I would argue that Millionaires are probably some of the best at budgeting.Golden rule: If you can’t measure it than you can’t manage it.

A personal budget is among the most important concepts of personal finance. In a personal or family budget all sources of income (inflows) are identified and expenses (outflows) are planned with the intent of matching outflows to inflows. There are a wide variety of personal budgeting methods and tools that can be employed to help individuals and families with the budgeting process.

Personal Finance Blog – » Even Millionaires Need to Budget

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