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The holiday season is a time of merriment, good food and family time, but it can also be a time when financial mistakes can rear their ugly heads like the ghosts of Christmas Past.
While others are shopping, traveling and preparing grand dinners for out of town guests, you may be looking at over the limit credit card statements, taxes that are still due, or other financial issues that maybe putting a damper on the festivities this year.
Don’t despair. Right now you are in a perfect position to make a financial change for the better.
Reflect. Reflect on what led you to make those mistakes in the first place. Was it job loss, divorce, impulsive spending? Make sure you know and understand what led you here so you don’t repeat this mistakes.
Get organized. Organize your bills and debts. Create a place to keep incoming bills. Specify a certain day of the month to sit down and pay your bills. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to send a check to the party you owe. Also write down payments, check numbers and date sent. Make a copy of the check and send it certified mail so you can stay on top of your finances.
Plan. Get ready to tackle your debt! Take this time to set up a plan to pay off debts. Without an action plan to pay off your debt it can linger over you and your life like a dark cloud. Think about what you need to do here… figure out the most important debt to be paid off first, generate more income, spend less and put more money towards debts. Set the plan and stick to it. A good incentive item: Get a calendar and cross off each day until you have paid that debt off!
Save. I can never stress enough how important it is to save. Think back to your debt, was it because your car broke down, the washer stopped working or you just ran out of money two weeks before payday? Having a financial safety net is the best way to handle life emergencies and to keep from amassing debt.
The end of the year is a time when we often reflect on where we are in life and upon what happened over the past year. Take some time in this last month of the year to get your financial house in order and to position yourself to hit the ground running in 2013.
Black Enterprise Columnist Jennifer Streaks is a Financial Expert, Author & Pundit. Continue the conversation by following her on twitter @jstreaks and going to her website www.JenniferStreaks.com