How to Stay Out of Debt this Year

Are you one of those people who continually carries debt into the new year? Let this be the year you really say goodbye to lingering debt. Here are a few tips for not racking up any new debt and paying off previous debt.

Forget about any extra money: It’s a new year, so more than likely your paycheck just got a little bump. If you do have some extra money in your paycheck due to a new year’s pay raise, do something productive with your extra cash before you can spend it on things you don’t truly need. Set your new year’s budget as if you are still making the same salary as last year. Put the extra money into your 401k or into your emergency fund. Another idea is to open a new savings account that will help you save for trips or entertainment plans for the year ahead that you’d normally put on a credit card.  Even if you only got a small raise, over time it all definitely adds up.

Set goals and keep them: Money goals are key to keeping your finances on track. Your budget is probably your most important money goal. You know how much you make, and if you haven’t set a strict annual budget for yourself yet in the new year – it’s time to map out your monthly bills and truly stick to your spending allowance. Automating bills and direct deposit right from your paycheck is an easy way you can help yourself stay on track.

Stop using your credit card: Of all the cards in your wallet, your credit card should be the one you reach for last. If you’d like to see your debt disappear in the new year, you’re going to have to start telling yourself no. Sure, shopping is fun – but how often are things that aren’t necessities worth having more debt over?

If you need help creating a budget this year, check out our easy budgeting worksheet. For more tips on managing your credit and reducing debt, view our credit management and debt reduction guidebook.

Article Source:  John Pettit for CUInsight.com

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