If you’re in financial hot water, it may be too late to do anything but consult an experienced Dallas bankruptcy attorney to help bail you out. However, even then, the following steps will definitely go a long way toward improving your financial (and emotional) state of being.
1. Make a realistic budget–and stick to it! You may have to re-evaluate and revise it from time to time, especially any time your financial situation changes, for better or worse.
2. Avoid impulse shopping. If you see something you absolutely must have, but didn’t plan to buy, don’t give in to temptation then and there. Instead, take a night or two to think it over. You may find that you can live without whatever it was after all.
3. A sale is not always a sale. Spending $300 to buy something normally costing $400 does not save you money if you hadn’t already planned to buy the item, and you don’t need it. That’s wasting $400 unnecessarily.
4. Medical insurance is a must. Unexpected medical expenses have ruined many a financial life. Get whatever medical insurance you can conceivably afford–even a stopgap policy with a large deductible can keep you above water during a serious financial crisis.
5. Don’t charge items if you can’t pay for them this month–unless it’s a dire emergency. If you don’t have the cash on hand, avoid charging items unless it is a true and actual emergency. The road to financial hell was paved with many a good intention. Toss your credit cards in a drawer if you need to. Sometimes out of sight is out of mind.
6. Only take on as much rent or mortgage as you can afford. Don’t put yourself in the position of being house (or apartment) rich but money poor. Buying the biggest and best house you can qualify for is never a good idea unless you truly need the space and make well above and beyond the monthly mortgage payment, along with other living expenses. Even then, be honest with yourself. Are you just trying to keep up with the Joneses? Your wallet is not going to thank you in the long run.
7. Don’t cosign or guarantee loans for others. Once you cosign that loan, you’ll be treated as if you were the primary borrower if that person defaults. There’s no way you can 100% ensure they’re going to keep making payments in a timely manner.
8. Avoid joint obligations with people who have questionable spending habits, no matter who. By incurring a joint debt, you’re most likely going to foot the entire bill if the other person defaults.
9. Stay away from high-risk investments like speculative real estate, penny stocks and junk bonds. Invest your money wisely–be conservative by opting for certificates of deposit, money market funds, and government bonds. Even then, consider getting the opinion of good investment attorney or reputable broker.
10. Cut corners wherever you can. You don’t have to spend tons of money to show your love and appreciation for others. Surprise a loved one with a picnic instead of taking them to an expensive restaurant. If someone wants to meet you for lunch, suggest hooking up at the museum or packing a lunch to take on a walk through the park. Instead of spending money on books, movies, and music, see if your library offers them for low or no cost. Your librarians will certainly appreciate the patronage!