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New Year goal: Getting finances in order

Photo by Lee Celano/Getty Images

As a new year begins, consider getting your finances in order. Set yourself up to live a more financially stable life by years' end. By taking just a few steps it is possible to be less in debt, or to get completely out of debt, by the end of the year.

How can this be done?

  1. Reduce your monthly bills: Take a look at what you are paying out each month. Electricity, oil, gas, cell phone bills. The list goes on. What could you do to lower these bills? Do you really need a house phone plus cell phones for every member of the family? If you do, what charges can you have taken off the house phone? Do you need all the pricey services? What about the cell phones? How much is your monthly bill? Could another plan or company save you money? How might you go about saving money on electricity and oil? Think about your options.
  2. Spend less money: How could you spend less money on food and other necessities? By using coupons? Waiting for sales? Save gas money by traveling less, running errands on the way home rather than making extra trips. Groups errands together. Shop at thrift stores, check out yard sales, and accept hand-me-downs for toys, clothing and other items that must be acquired.
  3. Do not spend more than you make: As you are cutting corners, notice how the amount of money going out changes. Make it a point not to spend money you do not have, even if it means cutting up the credit cards.
  4. Pay down debt: Use some of the money you are saving each month to pay down debt. Do not mail payments every week unless necessary. You will be making larger payments at a time, saving money on checks and postage so there is more to pay down debts. Once a debt is paid off, put that amount toward paying off other debts. Ond so on, and so forth until the debts are paid off.
  5. Save what you do not spend: Any money left over at the end of the month should be saved. This money may be needed later, or can be saved for a family vacation, a home, a vehicle, or even retirement. Once all debts are paid off, the amount of money used for them each month should also be applied to your savings.

Next year, your family will be far better off than they are right now. Celebrate with dinner out and a movie. Or a weekend away, paying for it out of pocket rather than putting it on credit.

Be sure to subscribe to Bangor Frugal Living to receive all new updates to the column. Please share articles you enjoy on Facebook, Twitter and other social and bookmarking venues. You may contact Shannon any time at, or by leaving a comment here. Get her eCookBooks Beverages in a Budget and Main Meal Magic for ideas on saving money on groceries.

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