Thursday, June 07, 2007

Being smart about DEBT!

Now in an ideal world, we would all live on a pink cloud and never have a cent of debt. But unfortunately, not many of us get to live on that perfect, pink cloud, do we?

I have been writing about money and debt 24/7 around here lately. I rambled a few days ago about my finances and the amount of debt I have paid off in the last few years. I rambled last week about my decision to move a bunch of my money from savings and pay off a small education loan that I have. I wrote a Thursday Thirteen meme earlier today about 13 things I am going to do to save even more money while I am paying my debt off. So, to say that I have money and debt on the mind is probably an understatement.

I have often said...I probably said it earlier this week, that I think people should be required to take a finance/money course before they graduate from high school. There were so many things about debt and money that I just didn't know when I was offered my first credit card. The debt crisis is growing each year and I don't see it getting better, I see it getting worse. *cringes*

And for the most part, I am very lucky. I am lucky that I don't have the credit card debt that other people do. I am lucky that all of my debt is what people call "healthy debt"...meaning educational loans. Of course, I don't feel so lucky when I am paying it off!

I have had a few friends ask me where they can get debt help and advice. It's tough because there is often conflicting information out there and you don't really know who to trust. Well, one..I would say ask people in your life what their advice is. Two, if you go to a professional for advice, I would encourage you to look for a non-profit organization. I happen to believe strongly that if someone is going to make money of your financial woes...they probably have their bank account interests in mind, not yours. There are some web sites out there which can give a lot of advice about tackling your debt no matter how big or small. (I like that this site says that there is NO need to pay for advice! Smart site, I say!). I think that debt management can be so overwhelming, so it is wonderful to have someone walk you through you might see a light at the end of the debt tunnel.

And of course, money management is a crucial skill too. You can learn everything from A to Z about debt, but if you don't learn to manage the money you ends up being an endless cycle. The site recommends making a weekly budget, make lists of monthly bills/fees, create a competition with friends/roommates about who can spend less at the grocery store or to get their hair cut (I love this idea...I am SO stealing it), etc. I am always looking for new ways to manage the money I have and hopefully spend less of it.

Alright, I promise...I won't talk about money for at least a day. At least I will try!

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