One of the first things I'd suggest is writing down all your expenses - food, medication, essentials (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste etc), gas, insurances, rent, electrical, telephone, loan payments, credit card payment and anything else that you can think of. Include the dates that you have to make the payments. With the food and essentials, my advice is to divide it up into each pay period.
Then write down the amount of money you make at each pay cheque.
Then look at how much you have left at the end of the pay cheque. If there is nothing left, then play with the negotiable items - food, essentials, social/entertainment. Rent or mortgages should never be more than 30% of your wages - in some areas, I realize that is easier said than done, it can be done though. It's all a mind set. Hopefully with the new move it'll bring down the rent for you.
If you notice that there is money left, then be realistic - where is it going. Are there expenses that you haven't written down? Or are you buying coffee daily, having meals out, buying stuff that is going on the card rather than in cash.
If you realize that you have money that isn't accounted for, then start tracking - every dime that goes out, write it down. If you do this over one month you'll see a pattern of spending and can change that in your budget. Start a small savings account - the team goal is $10 per week but you can knock it to where it fits best for you. Some folks save coins, some put money from returning bottles into jars, some like myself have regular deposits to savings accounts. The main thing is start small and move up as you are able to do that.
Do NOT miss a credit card payment - even one miss will go as a negative mark on your record and if you wish to neogitate a lesser interest rate, it will go against you. If you are able, always pay double the credit card payment - as it'll cover both the principal and interest. Paying mininum only covers interest.
I hope that I didn't overstep, and that it helps you out. I have been there, I graduated in 1982 from college into massive recession. There were signs on doors of businesses that stated "no work" or "not accepting job applications." I even applied at McDonald's - there were 70 people standing there for 2 positions. Even over 30yrs later, I still make far less than you, and I managed to get out from a huge debt - over $40K. I left an abusive relationship, he racked up my credit, left me in debt and he went into bankruptcy. I was given bad advice from financers, it pushed me deeper into debt, plus in the early 90s, another massive recession went through and I worked casual nursing and counselling positions for 2yrs. Some positions at min. wage.
With working full-time and steady hours, I went in and talked to a credit counsellor and they set me up on a repayment plan. I lived very tight for 5yrs, still managed to go on road trips and live...I did it with cash and at times, assistance from family (that I've repaid) and all my debt is gone. I owe on a credit card due to car repairs, and it's manageable. I share this so that you know it can be done. Your debt is low, it is manageable even though it doesn't feel that way and when you get on your feet with the new job, new place, you'll get it all paid off. It'll take a bit of work at the beginning and it'll be worth it. The positive steps you do now, will pay off down the road. It is TERRIFIC that you are taking control of the debt now, before it snowballs and pulls you under.
You are in the right place here, as we all understand what you are going through. I wish you all the best and keep us posted on how things work out. Check out different topic boards here in the team, as there will be lots of suggestions on budgets and such.
Here is a little bit about me. I am 23 years old - I got my first credit card when I was 18 and second at 19. I never went overboard, I never made extravagant purchases...but here I am at 23, with $6500 of debt on the card. It happened gradually. The biggest time period that it increased was when I was in my Masters Degree program, because I had to stop working while I did my unpaid internships for a year and a half. During that time, I lived off of student loans. I also lived with my parents, however textbooks, food, gas for the commute, etc added up. There were also a couple of times that I took classes over the summer and had to charge around $2000 to the credit card. Things just got out of hand. I got a job after I graduated, but that involved moving out on my own. Now, I had income, but about 40% of it was going to the apartment. I was able to stay steady, but never actually decrease the debt. Every time I tried, something came up. I'm in the same boat now. I got a new job (which I love and pays way more), but I still can't seem to get out from under it. Every time I try, something happens. I even got it paid down a little, but then my car insurance was due, and I had to pay the money towards that instead of the credit cards. I have a $300 car payment each month, pay $1050 in rent, make $50,000 a year, and can't seem to get it paid down. I'm just incredibly frustrated. I was hoping to be able to pay the credit cards off by March, but I have literally made no progress with them due to moving to a new apartment (had to pay $3150 when you include first month and a half rent and month and a half security deposit). I am just frustrated and trying to get on track with this. Has anyone else been in this situation?
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