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4 Ways to Get Back on Track Financially This Year

4458621748_416e7faf75_zIt is easy to get off track financially and suddenly find yourself staring at a growing pile of bills each month. While it can be a bad feeling to get into this position, there is no sense sitting around and worrying about it – the only thing you can do is get started on correcting the problem. By developing a plan of action to get yourself on the right financial path, you can set a course toward a more prosperous future.

Obviously it would be great if you were able to increase your income as a way to deal with your bills – but that isn’t always possible. Until you are able to land that raise or promotion that you are looking for, consider the following four ways that you can get yourself back on the right financial path this year.

#1 – Cut Out Two Bills

Look through your monthly bills and try to identify two that you could either reduce, or eliminate altogether. If you are like most people, this process shouldn’t be that hard as you are probably already paying for things that you don’t need or don’t use that often.

Examples of bills that could potentially be cut out include gym memberships and other ongoing subscriptions. Items that could maybe be reduced include your cable bill and your cell phone bill, if you are able to downgrade to a less-expensive plan.

#2 – Save First, Spend Later

Most people go about the process of saving in reverse. They spend their money throughout the month how they wish, and then try to save whatever is left over.

Try turning that process around – move a percentage of your money into savings right away, and then use what is left to pay your bills and pay for other costs like entertainment and shopping. This will take discipline, but you will start to appreciate the value of this approach when you see your savings account start to add up.

#3 – Attack the High Interest Rates

When paying down debt, be sure that you are going after the debts with the highest interest rates first and foremost. This is also known as the debt avalanche method. Usually this means attacking your credit cards first. If you are able to pay more than the minimum each month on these balances, focus your extra payments toward getting rid of the balances on your accounts with the highest rates.

While it might be exciting to think about paying off your student loan or a car loan, for example, those rates are usually far lower than a credit account. Be smart about your payments so you can save in the long run.

#4 – Reduce Your Grocery Bill

There is a good chance that you could save money each month at the grocery store just by planning ahead better and shopping smarter. Wasted food is money that goes wasted as well – so try to plan your meals in a way that you don’t end up throwing away very much food because it has gone bad before getting used. Make use of leftovers and look for sales at the grocery store to save money week after week.

 

What other ways can you think of to help yourself get back on track? What is the first thing you’d do to get back on track financially?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Mecki Mac

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

8 comments

  1. Smart tips, John. We’ve implemented all of these and it’s definitely made a difference in our finances.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…30 Great Gift Ideas for DadMy Profile

  2. Good list! I especially like the first one–if you can cut out some bills, that’s more money in your pocket (and less in some corporation’s)!
    Froogal Stoodent recently posted…Arbitration agreement? Run away…My Profile

  3. The bills step is key. There’s almost always something to trim. We’re going to finally switch from Vonage ($36 a month) to Ooma (less than $5 after taxes).

    I suggest making sure you put aside the money you would otherwise have spent. We put $92 into a Saved Savings account each month so that the savings from cutting the cord don’t just vanish. (We also stash money saved from coupons, sales, etc.) It’s a great way to pad savings. Or empty the account at the end of the month to plump up your debt repayment.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…The cost of infertilityMy Profile

  4. Simple tips, yet effective. I like the #2, which I always practice. Before spending my salary, I save first. It’s so easy to spend when I don’t have to worry about my saving.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…6 Beginner Mistakes Keeping You (and Your Small Business) in DebtMy Profile

  5. It’s amazing how just one or two little tips can get you back on track! Groceries always feel like an area for me where there’s always a way to trim a few extra dollars when I need to!
    Jason@Islands of Investing recently posted…Disaster strikes! A Tsunami hits the Million Dollar Islands!My Profile

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