23 May Till Debt Do Us Part
Whether you are in a marriage or partnership, dealing with money is a challenge. Everyone was taught differently about money and finances. Some were taught to save and spend below your means. Some had others to take care of it so they never had to budget. Some spent everything they made and lived paycheck to paycheck.
Whatever you were taught as a child about money follows you to adulthood. Unless both parties work together on a common solution to debt, your relationship is doomed.
Financial problems is one of the major reasons for divorce and break ups.
Communicating about the problem is a first step. Unless you know your income and expenses the reality of the mounting debt gets pushed under the rug and forgotten.
It is one thing to talk about it and another thing to see it on paper in black and white.
Tracking all your expenses including check and credit purchases along with cash purchases is important and quite an ordeal. Using Quicken for personal income and expense tracking or Quickbooks for business is helpful.
The old attitude of buy it now and pay it later has to go. Using credit cards has its advantages and disadvantages. Credit cards are convenient, safer and easier to carry than a wad of cash. If you pay your credit card bill in full every month then having a credit card is great. However, having a balance on the cards adds to your bill and with higher interest rates, it can get overwhelming. It does not make sense to pay twice as much for an item by using credit cards with a balance. If need be cut some of the credit cards or put them away. Even with those points and cash back for every purchase, it does not help given the higher interest rate.
Every expense needs to be carefully analyzed. When expenses exceed income the simple answer is increase the income and decrease the expenses. A lot of changes need to be made. In this case, credit cards should not be used. If it is used it should be used for basic necessities such as food and gas and only where cash is not accepted.
Cutting expenses is critical if income does not support it. Once you have a list of all your expenses it is easier to determine what can be cut or decreased. Look at getting a discount when you bundle some services. Family share plans and internet/cable/phone bundles are cheaper than individual plans. Buying items in bulk also is cost saving.
Do some fun things that cost less. DVD movies for a dollar at the grocery stores are great or exchange your saved movies with others. Provide a service that you can do for someone and provide that as a gift vs buying a material object.
Working on your finances requires commitment. Take out the emotion and look at it as a business. Some purchases are emotional and comfort based more than need based.
Do whatever it takes to get back on solid ground. Work on decreasing expenses and more importantly increasing income. This is a great life lesson in financial management. Thing will eventually turn around. As always take action and keep persisting on the path to success. You deserve it and your relationship depends on it.
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