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Using A Budget To Counter Debt

Bills are piling up. Credit cards are screaming for attention, and youíre not sure what you can do about it since your car expense needs to be paid. Utilities, food, and other bills are awaiting their turn as well. The bigger problem, however, is that your paycheck is nearly gone and, like most people, youíre asking yourself where it all went. Sometimes help is needed. After all, despite the financial stresses, we still need to pay our bills Ė they don't go away. And essential expenses, like homes, food, cars, or even college for yourself or your children force our hand. So what do you do? Though certainly not a cure-all, it's time to write a personal budget to help reel in the expenses. Make a list of your bills and order them by importance. Your house payment, for instance, is more important than a minimum payment to your credit card. In preparation for putting together a budget, there are several expenses that need to be recognized as absolutely essential.

1. Mortgage/Rent. This is just about your most critical expense. If you donít pay this, then making your credit card payment will be the least of your concerns. Making sure that your rent or mortgage is paid also helps your credit rating.

2. Family Support. Whether for a family at home or even a former spouse, your family's most pressing needs should be at the top of your priorities.

3. Utilities. Though vital, you can usually postpone paying these for a month or two and catch up later. However, this is not a good practice if at all avoidable, and can damage your credit as well as create an uglier debt.

4. Vehicle. This includes not only your car payment, but also its maintenance.

5. Credit Cards. Paying your cards is important. If you canít afford large payments, then pay the minimum required for a month or two until you are able to routinely pay back greater amounts. Then hide the card to avoid the temptation of using it further.

6. Secured Loans. Non-payment of any secured loan means that in an extreme situation your creditor can reclaim those belongings without going through the court system. There are also a number of expenses that are considered non-essential and thus set to the side for payment - if necessary - at a more convenient time. Non-payment on these items doesn't normally result in nasty consequences, as with other debts. However, taking too much time to pay can result in a deeper debt and damage your credit report. 1. Store Charge Cards. Gasoline cards and department store credit cards are third party cards. Non-payment simply means that you still owe payment to these creditors and that you can lose your privileges to use the cards. However delaying payment for a time could be you best option. 2. Personal Debt. These include loans from your friends and family members. Though you still have a moral obligation to repay, these are people who will normally be more understanding and patient with your struggles. 3. Subscriptions. Newspapers, movie rentals, magazines and the like are fairly inexpensive bills. The worst case scenario is that they would be canceled. Once you are able to pay them off, youíll start receiving them again if you so choose. 4. Legal/Finance. These include such expenses as a lawyer or even payments to the IRS. You can delay them briefly, but prolonged non-payment could result in a law suit or some other legal financial trouble. Keep a payment calendar prominently on your desk, and mark off the dates when essential bills are due. Budget those bills to repay them as expediently as possible.


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