Our Escondido readers know that it can be difficult to get on the right path toward financial stability, especially after filing for bankruptcy. Daily financial hardship seems to have become the "new normal" for millions of Americans, even as thousands of people have taken advantage of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy and addressing debt over the last several years. For many people, the struggle to "get ahead" is seemingly a struggle without end. With that in mind, a recent article suggested a few tips for trying to get the most out a household balance sheet, while at the same time acknowledging the reality of financial challenges.
First, the article suggested that consumers should focus on paying off debt, especially credit card debt from the holidays, and also consider revamping the household budget. Making these two areas the primary focus can help in several ways. Making changes to a budget is necessary if there have been any significant changes, like an increase in income or a change in a family arrangement - like a new child. Expenses change, and with it the household budget should change. And, since it has been a few months now since the holiday spending sprees that millions of Americans got caught up in, hopefully credit card balances are getting closer to being paid off.
It is also a good idea for consumers to examine all aspects of the household finances for cost-saving moves. For instance, many creditors offer incentives for switching to paperless billing, which can also help a consumer avoid delinquent payments. At the very least, taking a look at financial documents will ensure that new fees haven't popped up unexpectedly in the new year. All of these efforts will hopefully have a positive impact on a person's credit score.
Lastly, having an emergency fund is crucial. Many Escondido readers have surely faced times when an unexpected expenditure became an immediate concern, and having an emergency fund in place for these times can help alleviate the urge to rely on credit cards at those times. All in all, following even a few of these tips may help an individual or family get back on the right financial track.
Source: Daily Finance, "6 Ways to Freshen Up Your Finances," Holly Perez, March 28, 2014