Money: Four Steps to Financial Harmony
1. Talk to each other
To correct the situation you need to face the facts – together. If things get too heated when you try to talk, admit that you need to have a third party involved. Choose a couple who you admire and trust to sit in on your money talks. Or, spend time with a financial planner.
2. Get it on paper
Once you start talking, write it down – how much money do you owe and to whom? What are your monthly fixed expenses? What are your monthly flexible expenses? Once you face the facts, you might get a big sense of relief just because you are taking the first step.
3. Plan of Attack
Now that you can see where you stand in black and white, look at each expenditure and debt and see how you can address them. For each fixed expense, see if you can reduce it (get basic cable instead of top-tier, sell your car for a smaller, more fuel-efficient one). Flexible expenses can give you a lot of leeway. Think about what you really need, versus what you want.
For debts, first things first – stop adding to them. Next, come up with an aggressive plan to pay them off.
4. Goals and Dreams
While getting out of debt can be fulfilling on its own, it's even more fun to get your finances in order when you're striving to meet a goal. So brainstorm with your husband about what you really want from your money – a vacation for the two of you, a swimming pool for the kids, money on hand to help others in need. Whatever your dream or goal, keep it in front of you for motivation – talk about it, plan for it.
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