For most of the country this month marks the winding down of a long, cold winter and the introduction of spring. Many Americans have suffered the result of the brutal winter by an increase in heating costs and other expenses related to enduring the extended record cold weather.
If you control your spending based on expenditures predicted by a yearly budget, the added costs related to this past tough winter has likely has left your financial plan in a mess and over budget.
Here are a few tips to help you regain control of your budget and set your financial course back on tract.
It is so important to have a plan for your money and expenses. It is easy to set aside your budget when the only thing you are concerned about is surviving and keeping your family warm and fed. But know it is time to regroup and get back on track with your money.
Now that the preverbal dust has cleared, it is time to sit down and go over your current and future expenses in addition to your assets and income. If this past winter has taken its toll on your finances now is a good time to take a look at your budget and make some changes.
Compare your budget to actual costs
Compare the items or services that you over-spent on (over the past few months) to what you had budgeted. If your income will tolerate it, consider changing your budgeted amounts for those things to more closely resemble the amount you actually spent. We would like to think that another winter like we just had will not repeat itself, but if you are ready for the added expense, even if it doesn’t get that bad, you will be better off knowing that you can handle it.
Get out of the hole
If your budget fell short over the winter it is likely that you had to resort to using your credit card(s) to supplement your income during the hard times. If this is the case, now is the time to dig yourself back out of that credit card debt trap.
Like I always suggest, if you have more than one credit card that you are trying to payoff, pick the card with the smallest balance and attack that one first. Some people might suggest that you should work on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate but I disagree. There is much more gained in the way of having the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment in actually reaching your goal, that the little bit of interest charges saved is not worth it. You will find it easier and quicker to pay off the account with the smallest balance. Once you have reached this milestone, it will keep you motivated to tackle the larger balance on the other accounts.
Buckle down a little longer
If the past brutal winter left you with a shortfall in your budget, you might have to cut back on a few things and double up on making payments or refilling your savings/emergency account. I’m not saying it needs to be a Ramen Noodles night every night, but you will surely need to make some cutbacks in order to take control of your finances again.
Hang in there
Don’t get discouraged, you will once again get your budget back on track. It at times will be difficult but stick with your financial plan, the feeling you will have knowing that you weathered the storm and manages to recover both personally and financially is priceless.
If you however find yourself in a financial mess that you just can’t seem to get out of, it might be time for some professional help and a debt management program.
The professionals at DebtHelper.com can explain the benefits of a debt management program and provide you with a fresh start.
One of the biggest long-term benefits of the debt management plan is the reduction in interest. Reduced interest allows you to pay off your principal balances faster while saving you possibly thousands of dollars in finance charges.
In order to determine if you are eligible for a debt management program, you can fill out an online budget application form now and then you can contact one of their Certified Personal Finance Counselors© at (800) 920-2262.
DebtHelper.com can currently accept clients from the states listed here. DebtHelper.com is licensed, insured and complies with all state licensing requirements to ensure mandated regulations are followed. They are diligently working on becoming licensed in every state and are opening new states monthly.
Please call (800) 920-2262 if you have any questions. DebtHelper.com’s consultations are free, call them any time.