Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions that can help

Your wallet might be looking a little empty after the holiday season and I know that some of you are probably a little stressed about the balance in your bank account. Don’t be afraid to admit if you’re avoiding the mailbox because you know that pretty soon that big credit card statement will arrive.

My holiday shopping this year was a little less painful than usual because of my trusted
Hawthorne Christmas Savings Account. I emptied it out already to help cover the bills that have already arrived, but on New Years Day I started getting an early start on my 2008 holiday shopping by depositing $50 into the account.

Christmas club account is a savings account at Hawthorne that I can deposit money in to throughout year to effortlessly build up a nice gift fund. In November the money automatically gets deposited in to my savings account and I can go shopping without having to worry about paying for everything.

The holidays at my house are usually very stressful with too much going on and out-of-town house guests. However, each year I am trying to find new ways to alleviate some of the tension.
How, you might ask?

You can reward yourself financially by making some of your New Year's resolutions geared toward handling your finances or debt better. You can do it, trust me. This year one of my resolutions is to work on better organization and management of our finances.

Here's a list of seven strategies taken from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service that may help you. Good luck and Happy New Year!

1. Balance your checkbook each time you receive a paycheck so you don't spend more than the amount you make.

2. Have a filing cabinet or a secured box, handy? Well, you will need one to store financial statements. Make separate files for bank statements, tax documents, credit card bills, medical information, mortgage statements and other important records.

3. Create a monthly budget to determine your monthly income and recurring expenses. Focus on items such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, food, transportation costs, tuition savings, entertainment and personal grooming.

4. Ok, so once you've set up the budget; prioritize the expenses and spending based on your needs and wants. If you have any funds left after the monthly expenses are paid, split them between paying down your debt, for instance pay high-interest credit card bills and loans, and stash the money away in savings.

5. Create a varied savings plan. Make regular deposits in an interest-bearing account and don't pass up your employee-sponsored benefits like retirement and flexible spending accounts.

6. Stay aware of debt trouble. Problems can occur when you start falling behind on bills like mortgage, rent, or utilities or start using credit to buy items that you should buy with cash.

7. If situations like these occur, don't suffer in silence. Call your creditor and let them know you are having problems. It's possible that you just may be able to reach an agreement with your next payment or negotiate a lower interest rate.

You may also want to consider a Debt Management Program. If you have over $5,000 in debt then a debt management program may be for you.
Hawthorne’s Balance Financial Fitness debt management program can help.

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