The majority of families across America do not engage in proper financial planning. Families tend to spend more time planning vacations than they do planning their financial future. The majority of families start to look at their finances once they cash their paycheck.
In Dave Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover” he quotes The Wall Street Journal as saying 70% of American families live paycheck-to-paycheck. That happens because there is no plan in place to provide a road map for financial freedom.
Next years financial planning has already started for most businesses.
Developing budgets, predicting revenue and outlining expenses is just part of the process. To develop a solid financial plan for any business it’s critical to plan ahead, monitor results and adjust as needed.
Families need to start following the same process of financial planning. Three steps families can follow to develop a financial plan and get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck living are:
Track Expenses. In order to know where one is going, they first need to know where they are. Start recording every dollar spent and categorize the expenses. Lump expenses into common categorizes such as dining, entertainment, housing, utilities, education, loan payments, auto, etc.
After recording expenses three months in a row, move to step two.
Pay The Family First. Allocate a specific amount of money to transfer to a savings account. The account can not be easily accessible for withdrawals. There should be no ATM card attached or check writing privileges. The amount that is transferred to pay the family first has to be automated at the time each paycheck is received. The amount should be the same each paycheck. Determine the amount to transfer by choosing which items to cut back on from the expense tracking sheet from the last 90 days.
Cut and Earn. The third step is to cut expenses from every category possible. Start by calling every utility company, phone company, cell phone company and cable provider. They are accustom to receiving phone calls from people who can’t pay. Ask these companies how to lower the bill and see what they come up with.
Next, look at all loans and credit cards with balances. Find the debt with the lowest balance and make extra payments each month to pay off the debt.
After one debt is paid off completely, use the funds from that payment to add to the next lowest balance. The interest rate percentage should be ignored unless two loans have the same balance then choose the one with the highest interest to pay off first.
Finally, look for additional revenue streams. There are plenty of opportunities to earn extra income for those that aren’t afraid to put in the effort. Think creatively and be open to all opportunities. Making money online is a great place to start.