Ah, budgets. They’re about as much fun as a root canal, but it is smart financial planning to formulate a budget at the beginning of the year and plan accordingly with high hopes for financial solvency. If we’re lucky, nothing goes awry and we are able to stay on track. Even if this is true, it’s still a good idea to reassess our progress at mid-year and make budgetary adjustments if necessary, especially when it comes to credit cards. Because let’s face it – the second half of the year rarely resembles the first half.
A lot can change in six months. Credit card balances fluctuate and sometimes the company will change policies and it slips under the radar. Instead of being ahead, you find suddenly you’re not on top of things. Interest rates have changed, and not for the better. It might be time to do a credit card comparison and maybe taking advantage of a balance transfer offer. Credit card expenses can add up quickly and take a big chunk out of your carefully crafted budget.
Start with your original budget figures and adjust the amounts of income and outgoing expenses. Scrutinized every bill and take a good look at your spending habits. Are you charging too many expensive dinners on the credit card? Are there expenditures you can omit entirely? Keep in mind every dollar you spend could be a dollar in the bank or investment portfolio making you more money. Evaluate the interest rates and balances on existing cards. Are they the best credit cards for your current situation?
If you are carrying several cards and are having problems making the minimum payments, compare credit cards and evaluate which ones are offering you the best deal. It is much easier to budget for only one or two cards than it is for more. You might be able to save yourself quite a bit of money in interest rates by taking advantage of 0 balance transfer cards and consolidating any outstanding balances into one payment.
The trick with budgets is to remain flexible. They are not a “set it and forget it” type of endeavour. You really have to evaluate your budget at regular intervals to make sure everything is on the same track on which you started. Especially since the status of credit cards can change quickly, keeping an eye out means keeping control of your finances.