Before making the decision to
add more debt, you need to make sure that you:
*Allocate sufficient money for your essentials.
*Borrow only for items that you need and can afford.
*Borrow only if you're spending less each month than
you take home.
1. Start with your monthly take-home pay.
This is the amount you have left after taxes and other
deductions have been made.
2. Subtract the amount you need for necessities and
This includes savings, your mortgage or rent payment,
utilities, food, transportation, child care, medical
care, clothing, and recreation. Include payments made
on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis, such insurance
3. Subtract monthly payments for existing loans and
4. The balance is the amount you can safely apply to
Avoid thinking you can spend all this amount, since
emergencies do occur, and you may not wish to use your
regular savings account to cover small, unexpected expenses.
Monthly Take Home $ _______________
Fixed Expenses ---- $ _______________
Loans/Credit Cards ---- $ _______________
Amount Available For Additional Debt $ _______________
Moral of the Story: If you’re planning to buy a new
house or car, pretend you have already done so and start
“making the payment” but to yourself. Within a few months,
you’ll know whether or not you can really afford it
and you’ll have some money set aside for repairs, etc.
when you actually do make the purchase. If you can’t
make the pretend payment, you certainly won’t be able
to make the real one consistently. Time to go back to
the drawing board and figure out what else you’re willing
to give up in order to have the new debt.
HOW TO MANAGE CREDIT CARD USE
Many people find themselves with
credit problems because they don't keep track of purchases
they make with their credit cards. A simple method of
keeping track of monthly credit card charges is to:
1. Determine the total amount you can responsibly charge
on all your credit card accounts during that month.
2. Keep track of your credit spending in the same way
you maintain a running balance of your checking account.
3. Subtract each amount charged from the monthly charge
limit you set.
4. Stop using your credit cards if you draw this balance
down to zero.
About the author:
Cindy S. Morus (www.phelps-creek.com)
is a Certified Financial Recovery Counselor specializing
in showing women and their families how to achieve financial
well-being and peace of mind. She is also a Certified
Credit Report Reviewer and Get Clients NOW!™ licensee.
Contact her at 541-387-2995 or firstname.lastname@example.org
She is also the publisher and editor of "Financial Fitness",
an internet gazette dedicated to helping people improve
their financial fitness no matter what decisions were
made in the past.