Dallas, TX (Vocus) July 3, 2010
As America celebrates its independence, the Texas Society of CPAs wants to help those that feel trapped by financial burdens by offering a few simple ways to maintain a budget, and to break free from credit card debt.
According to the Federal Reserve the total amount of consumer debt remained steady in 2009 – at nearly $2.5 trillion dollars which averages out to be nearly $8,100 in debt for every man, woman and child in the United States.
Also, as of April 2010, the total U.S. revolving debt (98 percent of which is made up of credit card debt) is $838 billion.
While these numbers are staggering, regaining personal financial freedom can be achieved by adhering to the following:
Simple Budgeting Tips
- Track your spending -- For one month, keep receipts and/or write down all purchases to get a good idea of where the money goes.
- Know your income -- Make a list of all income sources like salary, rental properties, gifts, dividends, etc.
- Set saving and spending categories -- List all fixed expenses like the mortgage and utility bills. Variable expenses like food and entertainment are more flexible. Use a month-long tracking exercise to help assign a dollar amount to each variable expense. Then, add it up.
- Compare income and expenses and make adjustments if necessary -- If income exceeds expenses, you’re in good shape. If expenses are more than income, adjustments need to be made.
- Stick to it -- To get spending under control, stick to the budget. This doesn't mean not to have any fun, In fact, if some money is built in for the good things in life, it may be harder to stick with it.
Credit Card Debt
- Know how much is owed and to whom -- Getting out of debt isn’t possible unless you know how much you owe. Make a list of debts, including interest rates and minimum payments.
- Target balances with the highest annual percentage rates -- Once a credit card is paid off, apply that money to other credit card balances.
- Pay more than the minimum due -- Even if it’s just a small amount, it will help avoid paying for an item several times over in interest.
- Use a debit card to avoid interest charges -- It works just like a credit card but automatically deducts the purchase price from a checking account.
- Restructure your debt -- Consider switching credit card balances to a card with lower interest.
- Protect your credit history -- Make all loan and credit card payments on time.
To learn more about how to achieve personal financial independence, visit Texas Society of CPAs’ web site at http://www.ValueYourMoney.org. There you will find free personal finance information divided into 11 life stage categories.
Also, visit American Society of CPAs financial literacy site http://www.360FinancialLiteracy.org
TSCPA (http://www.tscpa.org) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. The society has 20 local chapters statewide and has 29,000 members, one of the largest in-state memberships of any state CPA society in the United States. TSCPA is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession.
Contact: Kelly Hardwick
972-687-8652 or 800-428-0272, ext. 652