Rework your habits to win back control of your finances and steer clear of new debt.
- Stop using your credit cards.
- Set up a spending plan and stick to it.
- Monitor every penny that comes in and goes out, either with an online tracking system (like those at mint.com and quicken.com) or with a written register that you carry with you.
- Sign up for online banking to automatically pay bills.
- Start an emergency fund, and set it up to receive savings every payday.
- Meet with your partner weekly for at least a half hour to review your finances and pay bills.
- Withdraw your spending money for the week, then put your debit and ATM cards away where you can’t access them.
- Write out your financial goals and take small steps toward them every day. Tape a list of goals to the inside of your wallet so you are reminded of them every time you spend money.
- Don’t buy on impulse. Institute a 24-hour waiting period before purchasing items outside your budget.
- Refuse to let setbacks sabotage your long-term success. After you overspend or face unplanned expenses, return to your plan immediately.
Have questions? Ask en expert for free! At bundle.com, type “ask a debt expert” to join a forum and get free advice from qualified credit counselors at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.