Here at STARS, we decided that for November’s Wellness Wednesdays, we would focus on budgeting. With the Christmas season right around the corner, and the start of a new year, spending money becomes a way of life for most folks. We are hoping that the little tips and tricks that are shared on Wellness Wednesdays, and the budgeting Lunch and Learns throughout November, will assist you in planning for the holidays, and essentially, the future, without breaking the bank.
For our first Wednesday, we are going to focus on basic definitions in regards to money and budgeting. These definitions, while common, need to be truly understood for a successful and less stress filled holiday season, and beyond.
David Ramsey is a well known author (The Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace) and radio talk show host of The Dave Ramsey Show who has written several books on getting out of debt, money matters, and budgeting. We will be using his ideas/theories throughout the month, and during the Lunch and Learns, in an effort to assist you in creating a budget, maintaining a budget and paying off debt.
LET’S GET STARTED
- an estimate of income and expenditures for a set period of time (Oxford Dictionary)
- a description of a financial plan (Economic Dictionary)
Both of these components define a budget. A budget is a financial plan that takes into account how much income is earned for a set period of time and what expenditures are for the same set period of time.
- money received, especially regularly, for work or through investments (Oxford Dictionary)
- in other words, your paycheck, or any lottery/casino winnings you may have acquired during that set period of time
- amount of money spent, as a whole, or on a particular thing; the consuming or using up of something (Encarta Dictionary)
- in other words, your bills and purchases
- something, typically money, that is owed or due (Oxford Dictionary)
- synonyms include: bill, dues, arrears, charges, liability
There is a definite negative connotation to the word debt. It feels like a heavy weight if you have debt. Am I right?
- subject being discussed or studied (Merriam Webster)
- subject on which people concentrate (Heather Courtney)
It is your responsibility, as a single person, married couple, head of household, to determine how much money you will bring in for the month. You then determine what bills/purchases you have for the month. Once both of those totals have been figured, you need to send your money to the places where it needs to go.
It takes a lot of focus to create and stick to a budget. You have to stick to your created budget in order to lessen the debt that you may have. Imagine your debt becoming less and less as you follow the budget you have established. Would that not feel wonderful? There is a definite feeling of accomplishment and relief when you are working toward alleviating your debt.
For next week, your homework assignment is as follows:
- Determine your monthly income
- Determine your expenses/purchases for the month
Once you have done that, we will put that information on forms (cheat sheets, so to speak) so that you can see where your money is going. This is extremely helpful to see where your money is going as we continue this process.
Until next week, be mindful of your income and your purchases/expenses. This is the first step in alleviating debt. Knowing how much you make and seeing where your money is going can be very eye opening…
Interested in shedding some federal student loan debt?
If you plan things just right, there’s a strategy that may work for you. It’s called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#page .
Here are the requirements:
- You must work full-time for a public service employer—a government agency or a non-profit organization. (Not all non-profits qualify.)
- You must have a qualifying loan and a qualifying repayment plan. (You can restructure both so they meet the requirements.)
- You must make 120 qualifying payments, all while meeting the points above.
Read http://www.ed.gov/blog/2015/04/how-to-qualify-for-public-service-loan-forgiveness-2/ for a step-by-step explanation of how to qualify for each requirement