This is a song I am all too familiar with. A week after I said “I do” to my husband I walked into Money Management International and asked for help getting my credit on track. I was worse off than most with both credit and student loan debt. My goal was to get my credit score back up so my husband and I could eventually buy a house. It took me five years and some belt tightening, but I was finally able to obtain a credit score that didn’t make me blush.
According to the Department of Education more than 40 percent of Americans who borrowed from the government’s student loan program are not making payments or are behind. In another study, 40 percent of millennials reported they don’t have a retirement income strategy in place and 57 percent report they haven’t begun saving yet.
To help the future of tomorrow get better at budgeting, paying off debt and saving, Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest offers the following tips:
Be Precise with Budgets
Your budget should include more than just rent, utilities, phone bill and insurance. Create a detailed list of the things you spend money on and things you would like to spend money on in the future. For example, be sure to put money away for clothes, haircuts, gas, groceries, medical, credit cards, entertainment and vacation. It might be scary to see your money quickly disappear when disseminated, but it will also leave you prepared when you start a new job and suddenly need a new suit and haircut.
Start Saving Now
If you’re already living paycheck to paycheck it might be difficult to imagine putting money away into savings, but even a little bit counts. Start with the smallest amount you can manage and then slowly increase the number as you start to become more accustomed to living on a fixed income.
Get Debt Help
If you need help consolidating your debt or creating payment plans remember there is help out there. And some of it is free. When I got married I was in the process of paying off two collection agencies. After speaking with a representative at MMI I got the amounts lowered and only had to send one check each month. Because I was able to consistently make payments I was able to pay off the debt in no time.
Be wary of someone offering to help you consolidate your debt for a “one-time fee.” Many nonprofit debt counseling agencies can you help for free.
To learn more about debt management visit bbb.org/credit-management.