Most of us need a bit of help when it comes to personal finance. We're bombarded by stores and companies offering us their cards but as soon as we make a slip and forget a payment they're down on us from a mighty height with excessive charges. There's nothing in school that prepares us for what it's really like when we become responsible for our own finances.
If you can persuade yourself to use a debit card rather than a credit card it will be a huge achievement. It may not be as glamorous but it will keep you within your budget and not allow you to be tempted by the huge levels of credit that are being offered to you. The only time it's worth having a credit card is for emergency.
If you are already in debt and you need to pay some cards off, then try to take on board the following tips. If you go over your limit or if you don't pay the amounts off each month you will be charged heavily. A direct debit from the bank will stop you from forgetting and if you can't afford to pay the whole amount off, then you could pay, say $15 off each card. This will stop you being charged late penalties and although you'll still be charged interest on the remainder, you'll at least be saving something.
You may have debts that have accumulated on a number of cards and you don't know which to start paying off first. Look at the interest rates that are charged and simply choose the one that will charge you the most. Alternatively, if the debt is very serious you could think about negotiating a new mortgage and have this debt added on. This would ease your current situation but would mean that you'd be paying the debt off over many years. There are lots of mortgage deals at the moment and it could offer the opportunity to build all your debts under the one roof (literally!).
If you've been paying a loan for, say, a car, you could continue to keep putting this money aside each month. Either it could be used on repairs or saving for a new car, or even just a holiday. You've got used to managing without this money so you could easily continue to do so.
If, however, you're clear with credit card companies but have a problem with gas, electric or phone companies you could either try to get meters fitted on most appliances or be strict with yourself and put a pot by each one. Then, every time you use it you have to force yourself to put a set amount of money in the pot. This should mean that the bill is well covered when it arrives.
Managing your financial life isn't easy for anyone. Unless you inherit or win the lottery it's a long hard slog and some people die before they can benefit from the rewards. On the other hand, for others it's wonderful to know that they can care responsibly for their children and can look forward to a debt free retirement.
Rachel Dorris is the webmaster and editor of "Finance Faith" a first class resource for finance information on the Internet. For more information following this article please pay a visit.
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