You are reading Week 21 of 52 Weeks to Eliminate Debt & Curb Spending. Please read the overview here to learn more about the series & get your FREE financial planner. If you just joined us, please start with week 1.
This week as we look at your debt relief goals, we are going to stop and evaluate your success and make changes. This is necessary, so you don’t find yourself in a rut and begin getting discouraged. Periodically pulling out your budget and list of debts to make changes is what will keep you successful financially.
Have you been able to stick to your budget? Pull out your spreadsheets for the last few months and evaluate if you have managed to stick to your budget. This is also the time to adjust for things that may have fluctuated. Perhaps utilities were more than expected. Add in the additional funds needed to your budget, then see what areas you can subtract that from. Ultimately you want to maintain the same amount of savings and debt repayment or more.
If you’re lowered utilities or expenses – that is awesome! Add those savings to your debt repayment plan.
Are you still in default on accounts? If you are looking at your budget and finding that you are still in significant default on accounts, you may want to go back and reevaluate our posts about when bankruptcy is a good choice and how to avoid bankruptcy. Accounts that are in default for multiple months are much harder to get in check again. I’m still not suggesting bankruptcy, I’m just suggesting you go back and read those articles again. I would also suggest getting professional advice if you have yet to take that step.
Have you found increased income? Have you asked for a raise, taken on a second job or downsized? If your budget is still not providing for debt repayment, it may be time to look at these options again. Continue working on increasing your income and lowering your expenses throughout your journey to getting rid of debt.
What areas need improvement? This is when you have to just get brutally honest with yourself. Look at your spending habits. Have they changed? Check the expenses in your budget and see which ones could be lowered even further. Can you menu plan or lower your grocery budget even more? Maybe it is finally time to step toward dropping your satellite, cable or entertainment budget? Check for areas that still need improvement.
At this point in your journey, it is time to truly evaluate your success and make changes. If getting rid of debt is your goal, it is time to get serious and make some big changes to see this happen. Work smarter and harder to see your financial goals met.
Give yourself a pat on the back! If you’ve been following along with the series and have been working to make changes, no matter how big or small, stop and give yourself a pat on the back.
Congratulate yourself on sticking with your goal to eliminate debt. You’ve earned it!
Week 21 Challenge:
Pull out your budget and adjust as needed for current debt, expenses and savings goals. Make a note of how much debt you have reduced in just a few months. Stop and acknowledge your accomplishments. It’s not all about how much further you have to go. It’s also important to celebrate how far you have come.
Disclosure: I am not a financial adviser nor do I have formal financial training. All articles are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice or consultation. Please consult your account and/or financial adviser before making changes to your finances. All situations are different, so please consult a professional to determine your individual needs.