#Lifestyle How To Start A Budget When You Are In Debt: Financial Freedom

I’m going to let you into my secret about budgeting.  Budgeting doesn’t necessarily translate into restriction, you but when viewed from a different perspective it is freedom. Yes! Budget is freedom. Having a fancy dinner on weekends or take outs just for ease may be what you want now but it’s something you are doing unconsciously and may regret it at the end of the month. Budgeting gets you focused on what you want from life and helps your dream become reality.

Maybe the debt you are facing now could be something you feel isn’t even important now. The life-and-death situation was just in your head. But now you are left with debt. It’s something that is stressing you out.

Featured Photo from Marie Claire

Stressing out isn’t going to help you out. What you need is a clear plan of action on how to pay off your debt. That’s where budgeting comes in. It will help you save money to pay off your debt, and still enjoy the better things in life.

Your Earning

Start by listing all your income sources along with them the amount you earn. This includes; wages, alimony, child support or any other income you have. Once you have this list, it is clear that how much money you make in a month and that’s a target to start with. You must now plan accordingly.

Realistic Spending Plan

The second step is to list down the expenses that you cannot forego. These are the necessary items such as utilities, grocery (take a step down if necessary), transportation or parking to work, rent or mortgage, medication and so on. This is where you focus on the definite expenses that cannot be neglected and expenses such as cable TV and other particulars that must be let go. Now you know the amount of money you are spending. Just create a realistic spending plan that you follow until you are debt free.

This plan is totally based on priority; you must prioritize your spending. Here are some tips that cut down the niceties from your monthly spending. First of all, you should consider forgoing expensive drinks or planning out weekends for some time. Use your mobile phones for calls only and cut down the extra packages you use for entertainment. Pay with cash. Don’t use credit cards!

Finding the Buffer

If the amount of money earned is 20% more than your realistic spending plan than that’s an ideal situation. You have that buffer needed for saving. But if it is equal or unfortunately less than you’re earning. then you need to either cut down your necessities or find one more source of earning. Find a business you are passionate about. If capital is what’s stopping you, then you can always get a loan with bad credit. But before you consider investing, make sure your business is low risk and its something you are passionate about.


Saving is the most important step as this will help you pay off your debt. For saving, you need to create a separate account. Do not touch this account, except in extreme emergencies. Needing a new dress for an office party doesn’t count as an emergency.

I’ll be honest with you, if you do not focus on your saving, then you will keep using your credit line to deal with your debt. The debt would still be there five or six years later. Not a fancy situation. And once you have enough money in your saving account, start looking for a financial planner. Invest for your future.

Updated List of Spending and Saving

Create an excel sheet for your spending and saving. Update it on a periodic basis. This helps you check which category has more spending in a month. You can then balance it by cutting your expenses in some other area. This check and balance will help you maintain your savings. Learning to manage your monthly expenses takes time, patience and a lot of compromises. But do not lose patience. Be persistent and you will see results for yourself.

Debt that Fits Your Budget

Ideally, you need to lower your credit utilization ratio so that your credit score increases. This is going to automatically lower your debt. If your credit utilization ratio is 10%, then you need to lower it. For this, you need to note down your credit limit and divide it by the number 10. This is your target which you need to achieve. Pay of as much as you can to get to this number. For this, you need to budget again.

Making a budget has many benefits. It transforms stress into a feeling of empowerment. It helps reveal the money you are wasting and direct your priorities. Not only does it direct priorities but creates a habit of saving and makes a person sensible enough to think ahead of time. Plan for the future.

Collaborative Post

Money Saving Tips from Stylist Sam Bell: Don’t Blow Your Tax Refund

Don’t blow your tax refund on clothes without reading these money saving tips! Wardrobe stylist Gen Bell offers great money saving tips for tax season and for throughout the year.

Sam Bell

1. Have a set budget!
Having a set budget on how much you’d like to spend is key. Everyone has different methods that work best for him or her. Some people prefer to use cash so that they can see exactly how much they’re spending and on what. My personal method is to create a budget first, let’s say $100. Then I figure out how many outfits I’d like to have from the $100, let’s say 4 outfits. Then I start window-shopping and comparing prices from different stores. I always check both online and in actual stores. Often times you’ll find the best mark down prices online!

2. Hit the Discount Stores
You can find stylish bargains at stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and DSW. Designer duds for a fraction of the price! But be careful, just because a store is inexpensive doesn’t mean you’ll save any money if you over spend. Learn control.

3. Learn to Do-it-Yourself
Learning how to make a few, simple alterations can save you lots of money down the line. Master the basics of sewing, replacing buttons, and hemming pants. If you’re a busy professional like most of us, then find a local seamstress in your neighborhood that can make the simple alterations for you. The point is to have you clothes last you for a long time. So if you loose a couple of pounds and can’t fit those jeans anymore, make the necessary alterations so that you can reincorporate those jeans back into your wardrobe.

4. Shop Out of Season
Seasoned shoppers shop for spring and summer items in the fall, and buy your fall and winter looks when spring rolls around. Clothing is always cheaper when they are out of season.

5. Avoid Impulse Shopping or Emotional Shopping
Many of us can’t fight the urge to impulse buy. Remind yourself when the urge arises, are these shoes worth it right at this moment? Do not buy the shoes, wait a couple of days and if you still want them and rationalize your need then buy them.

6. Think About What’s Already in Your Closet
When shopping, build a wardrobe around one or two color families that you already have. Keep your current wardrobe in mind when you shop, and don’t buy anything that won’t go with at least two or three other items that you own.

7. Take Care of Your Clothing
Caring for your clothes will help them last longer. Use the right amount of detergent, avoid the dryer when possible and hang and fold clothes properly. Pack your seasonal wardrobe! You don’t need your winter clothes hanging in your closet all summer long. Pack them in air tight containers that are designed to keep the moisture out and your clothes fresh!
8. Shop Vintage and Consignment
Fashion is cyclical! Trends from the past always make a comeback so don’t shy away from vintage and consignment shops. It may take longer to find exactly what you are looking for at a used clothing store so you must have patience and bring a friend for a fun movie montage.

9. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize. No outfit is complete without the right accessories. Take a simple dress and accessorize it in different ways to create completely different looks each time! This will expand your wardrobe without having to buy a new outfit for every occasion.

About Gen Bell:
Wardrobe stylist and creative director, Gen Bell is the true embodiment of a career girl in every aspect. Bell was born in Chicago and is currently styling key individuals in the South Florida community in film, fashion and music. Bell has worked one on one with designers, boutiques, production companies, models and more.

As a previous writer for Haute Living, Gen Bell has an impressive resume for a newbie. With a portfolio centered on beauty, video, celebrity/music, and street-chic styling, Bell has a vast knowledge of creating an aesthetically pleasing composition. Working with color palettes, silhouettes, and design, Gen Bell pulls together elements and principles to create a final “product” which sets apart from the rest.

To view all of Gen Bell’s stylist services and her portfolio, please visit www.genbell.com