2018 Budget

Some people call the holiday season the most wonderful time of the year. But for many, it’s also the most expensive. Too many people find themselves taking on too great a financial burden during the holiday season and doing some serious harm to their credit in the process.

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry: credit repair is within your grasp. This New Year, make it your resolution to get your finances back on track and fix your credit. A good budget is the first step to financial well being and healthy credit. Get your financial goals off on the right foot with a budget for 2018. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Determine your system

When setting your budget, organization is key. Record and track all of your budgeting data in a single location, whether it’s handwritten in a notebook, typed into an Excel document or tracked digitally using budgeting software. This way, you’re not stuck trying to remember all the individual details, or where you might have written them down.

  1. Figure out where you currently stand

The next step is to figure out your current financial standing—specifically, how much revolving debt you owe and how much monthly income you bring in. It can be daunting to confront these numbers head-on, but it’s imperative that you go into this process fully informed, or you’ll never be able to set realistic goals.

  1. Figure out your necessary (and unnecessary) expenses

Start with your necessary expenses, such as your monthly loan payments, groceries and gas. Include any major upcoming expenses you know you’ll need to cover (car repair, medical bill, etc.). Subtract those necessary expenses from your total income. The remaining balance is where you have some flexibility to alter your spending.

From there, take a close look at your recent bank and credit card statements. Where is your money going? Where can you cut back? Are you spending too much on fuel? Consider carpooling or public transportation. Are you eating out too often? Start packing your lunches or cooking dinner at home.

  1. Set goals

Once you’ve determined where your finances currently stand, you can focus on where you want to go, and create a specific action plan to get there. Paying off all of your credit card debt in six months might not be a realistic goal. But perhaps you can start increasing the amount you pay each month, so that you can start making bigger strides in reducing and eventually eliminating it.

  1. Check back in and adjust

At the end of each month, take a look at the numbers. How well were you able to stick to your budget? Where did you need to spend more than you expected and where were you able to save? Your budget is a living document. Adjust it accordingly.

  1. Seek help

Budgeting isn’t all there is to credit repair and financial health. It’s just a first step. Taking additional steps may be necessary, depending on how much credit help you need. Seeking help from a credit repair expert may be just what’s needed to set you on the right path. The right credit repair expert can help identify the major problem areas in your credit history and devise a strategy to get your credit on the road to recovery.

At the end of the day, a budget is a useful tool, but it’s only a Band-Aid solution if you don’t use it as an opportunity to address the root causes of your financial issues. Only then can you develop better habits and move forward to a happier financial future.

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