Start 2019 the Right Way

Holiday bills

Did you charge your holiday gifts and expenses?  I’ve read a few articles that say that people charge around $1,000 on credit cards around the holidays.  Are you one of these people?  I used to charge holiday gifts on my credit cards and got depressed in the new year when I saw my new bill.  I hated what I was doing, so I stopped doing that.  I pay cash for holiday gifts and food.  I enjoy the holidays more because I don’t rack up debt. 

Many people simply charge their holiday buying on a credit card every year.  It’s the easiest thing to do, right?  Wrong.  It’s too bad the credit card companies make it so easy for us to charge purchases.  If you have credit card debt, you belong to the credit card companies.  You must make minimum monthly payments, or they will harass you to make payments.  You’ve given control of your money to them.

Your Money Plan

What’s your money plan?  Create a money plan or budget today for January 2019.  Account for every dollar.  Yes, it takes some time to create your first one, but you’re on your way to taking control of your money.

Use one of the tools on my Resources page.  I create one for my income and expenses.  I know where each dollar is going and control how I use my money.  I can see where I’m overspending and how much money I can set aside in savings. 

Create a budget monthly and review it.  You’ll find that your budget changes from month to month depending on your income and expenses.  Are you upside down on your budget?  This means you have more expenses than income.  Look at where you’re overspending and eliminate it.  My budget cut out dining out and buying unnecessary items.  I’ve reduced my clothing budget by deciding to use my clothing a bit longer.  I’ve cut out entertainment and recreation.  I have Netflix and Hulu so I’ll watch my favorite movies on TV at home.  A lot cheaper than going to the theater.  I don’t have cable or satellite.  I had Sling TV, then I switched to Hulu TV for a bit more because it offers more channels.  Hulu TV is a lot less than cable or satellite and I get channels that I want to watch.  How many channels do you watch on your cable or satellite TV?  I used to watch only 10% of the channels that I got and paid over $100, so I closed my account.  If you think you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you may find you’re not when you see where your money is going.  Take control of your money. 

Pay Off All Debt

Make 2019 the year that you pay off your debt.  Your goal for 2019 should be “I’m financially free!”  Repeat that to yourself when you’re tempted to dine out or buy something you don’t need.  You don’t deserve to have debt haunting you every month.  If you have debt, you’re making someone else rich. 

The interest you are paying on your debt is how companies make money.  What is the interest rate on your credit cards?  19%  24%  That’s how much you’re paying them to use your credit card.  Pay off your credit cards and close the accounts. 

Never stop paying your debt.  The worse thing to do is stop paying your debt.  Contact your creditors, let them know what’s going on, and negotiate with them.  They should agree to you paying something, even $20 a month, versus not paying at all.  Your creditors aren’t mind readers.  They don’t know you lost your job or that you got injured and aren’t working.  Notify them when your income is reduced and work out an agreement to still make payments. 

Pay your debt on or before the due date.  Never make late payments because you’ll be charged fees.  That’s more money you’ll owe them.  If the due date isn’t working because you have other debt due around the same time, ask the creditor to change the date.  For example, if you have 4 bills due on the 15th of the month that causes you to be short on cash, call the creditors to see if they’ll change the due date.  Move 2 or 3 of those bills to other dates in the month when money is available to make the payments. 

As you pay off the debt, never use the credit card or loan again.  Never apply for more loans.  Use cash to pay for items you need.  Stop buying things you don’t need. 

Remember Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.  Have a money plan to pay off all your debt!  Your budget is where you start.  Join me as I pay off my debt in 2019!  I’ll post on social media as I pay off each debt.  Your battle cry is “I’m financially free in 2019!”

Sell Your Stuff

Don’t have the money you need to pay off your debt?  I bet you have things in your house that you can sell.  Clothes you bought but never used.  Your children’s toys.  Equipment you don’t need or use.  Anything you bought to keep up with the Joneses, such as high-priced jewelry, boat, or car.  Sell your stuff on Craigslist or VarageSale.   When you are debt-free and can pay cash, that’s when you can own these costly items.  Until then, stick with the basics and pay off your debt.  Sell your luxury car and get a cheaper one. 

Make more money

How can you make more money?   You can work a second job.  There are many part-time job opportunities out there.  I’ve worked part-time in retail, such as department stores.  You can deliver pizza or food.  Yes, swallow your pride and go for it.  Remember you got debt to pay off.  There are part-time tele-commuting jobs or online jobs that you can work from home.  I’ve heard of jobs available to help the elderly, such as shopping for them, cleaning their house, or reading to the elderly in care facilities. 

Do you have a skill or hobby that can bring in some extra cash?  Are you good at woodwork or fine carpentry?  You can make furniture to sell.  Are you a seamstress?  You can make clothing or costumes to sell.  Can you teach your skill or hobby to people for a price?  Maybe teach people how to use Facebook or Instragram Live to chat with friends.  How about using Facebook or Instragram Live to teach a skill? 

Stay tuned for my next blog.  Please share my blog with your friends. 

Gail Sasao