woman with watch

Before you continue to have careless spending on items such as car accessories for girls, it’s time to face the music when it comes to being in debt and finally turn things around.  First thing you can do is review last month’s credit or debit card statement and go line by line and hold yourself accountable for where every dollar is going and finally make some changes to reduce spending.  From there you can start to make the highest monthly payment that you can afford so you can pull yourself out of debt sooner and pay the least amount of interest over time.  It will not be easy, but getting out of debt should be a priority this year so you can finally put your hard-earned money to good use.

Check Your Credit Report

This should probably go without saying for anything related to personal finance, but you never know who has your information these days so it’s a good idea to at least get a free copy of your credit report from the major credit bureaus to ensure everything is accurate on your report.  Your credit score will not be included in this, but fortunately the score is provided with each credit card account statement now, so you will be able to see your score continue to rise each month so you can strive for the highest score you can achieve to be able to take advantage of the best interest rates on the market, saving you money with each payment.

Build an Emergency Fund

You never know what life will throw at you, so it’s always good to be as prepared as you can when it comes to having a cushion in case of any large expenses come up, such as vet bills, an auto repair, or even covering yourself for a few months if there was a job loss.  If you can save up a few months’ worth of expenses you can give yourself the needed cushion so you don’t have to charge up your credit card and risk not being able to pay it back and begin to pay interest.

Increase Retirement Contributions

If you think about how long it’s been since you’ve been out of school, in your career, in your current job, it may be sad how fast time has gone by and it just makes you realize that before you know it, you will be ready to retire so you want to make sure you have the funds available to continue to experience life, without the stress of work.  The earlier you contribute the better, to give the most chance to grow over time, and also be on the look out for company matching contributions, to make sure you aren’t leaving any money on the table.

Travel

Saving money is important, but so are the life experiences.  There is a fine line between holding onto your money and wasting it, but when it comes to traveling, if you can afford it and are not charging up your credit card, go to as many places you can, see every concert you want to see, and try out every new restaurant you’re interested in.  Life is all about the experience and if you are too busy paying back debt and wasting money on expenses, you may miss out.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards

Speaking of missing out, there is good when it comes to credit cards, and if you can use them responsibly, the rewards could be a good enough reason to use a credit card for every purchase.  By making the normal purchases that you were going to make anyways, you can earn rewards in the form of miles or dollars, and not taking advantage would otherwise be leaving free money on the table.  The key though is being able to continue to pay back the full balance by the due date, otherwise carrying over and starting to pay interest could wipe out any rewards that you did receive.

Continue to Make the Necessary Sacrifices

Getting out of debt, staying out of debt, and getting ahead is certainly not easy, otherwise everyone would be in good financial shape, and unfortunately, that is not the case.  If you are looking to free up extra money you can cut corners with avoiding going out to eat, or maybe even a more tougher choice such as cutting cable.  It may be a shock at first, but if you can make the necessary sacrifices to get ahead, it will all be worth it.