Getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet are both good for your health, but did you know having control of your finances is equally as important? According to the Stress in America™: Paying With Our Health survey released in 2015 by the American Psychological Association, money is a top cause of stress for Americans.
Healthy Lives member Ryan J. is familiar with the stress caused by poor financial planning. He and his wife started their marriage with $43,000 of unsecured debt.
“We tricked ourselves by thinking we needed things we could have saved for and purchased later,” said Ryan.
Thankfully, they realized they needed to change and paid off everything in a little over two years.
It wasn’t an easy or quick journey, but Ryan and his wife learned two important things through the process:
- You must have a budget. If you don’t make a plan, you will not succeed. Ryan used the free budgeting app Goodbudget to help his family stay on track.
- Identify the “wants” and start cutting. Ryan said this one hurts a little, but the “wants” make it that much harder for you to get out of debt and save for your emergency fund and retirement. He and his wife were able to decrease their debt rapidly by making cuts in these areas:
- Cell phone-He lowered his data plan. He takes advantage of public Wi-Fi networks and uses less data.
- Cars-Ryan believes in buying a cheaper used car and driving it until it doesn’t drive anymore.
- Cable-He cut the cord on this expensive monthly bill. Ryan recommends buying a digital antenna to watch your favorite shows for free, including football.
Want more education to help you get a handle on your finances? Visit consumer.gov and explore the Managing Your Money section.