Remember back in January when you made those New Year’s Resolutions? Odds are that they included some financial vows, promises to stop charging, start saving and improve your overall financial well-being. How are you doing?
Many may not be as far along as they’d hoped to be at this mid-year point. But don’t be discouraged. There’s still time to make a positive difference in your finances and start 2010 in a much better place.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) believes that small changes can yield huge results. As a matter of fact, putting $20 to work for you can improve your entire financial picture. Consider the following and see how you can best utilize $20:
- Debt – Find an extra $20 per week for the remainder of the year, and put it toward debt reduction. Not worth the trouble? Consider this: If you currently owe $1,000 on a credit card, have an Annual Percentage Rate of 18 percent, and are making a minimum monthly payment of 2 percent of balance, even if no further charges are ever added to the account, you won’t have that $1,000 paid off for 12 years. You don’t want to still be paying for 2009 charges in 2021. Adding that extra $20 per week to your minimum payment almost cuts your debt in half by the end of this year.
- Saving – If your savings account is low or non-existent, do something about it. After all, it’s not a matter of if the financial emergency will occur, but when. Prepare for the inevitable by socking away $20 per week until the end of the year. When December 31 rolls around, you’ll have $500 in your savings account, a cushion that should see you through most everyday emergencies.
- Holiday Expenses – Remember the old Holiday Accounts where everyone methodically deposited money throughout the year and then drew it out during December to pay cash for their purchases? That idea is one that we should take out of the moth balls, dust off and put into practice. Now is the time to establish your own personal Holiday Account. Find an extra $20 per week and start making out your gift list, as you’ll have $500 to spend. And the best gift of all will be the one that you give to yourself…a debt-free holiday.
Imagine starting off the new year with debt paid down, savings built up, and no holiday bills in the mailbox. Go on and pinch yourself, because you’re not dreaming. This could be a reality, but it all starts with a commitment from you. If you can’t tackle all three areas, address the one that troubles you most. Odds are that you’ll enjoy moving toward financial stability so much that you carry your good habits into the New Year.
If you need help finding that extra $20 per week, creating a realistic budget you can live with, or tackling overwhelming debt, reach out to an NFCC Member Agency. To find the one closest to you, dial (800) 388-2227, or go online to www.DebtAdvice.org
. For assistance in Spanish, call (800) 682-9832.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC Members annually help more than three million consumers through close to 850 community-based offices nationwide. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC Member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit www.nfcc.org.