Make A List
Make a list of your financial responsibilities and future goals. Your list might include things like student loans, retirement, car payments, rent, saving for a house, paying off credit cards, etc.
Rank The Items
The next step is to rank your items into two columns. The things you want are in one column, while the things you need are in the other. For example, if you’re paying off a loan or credit card debt, that’s a need. If you hope to save enough money for a down payment on a home, that’s a want.
Prioritize & Manage
The next step is to prioritize the items on your “Needs” list in order of importance. If your credit cards have a higher interest rate than your student loans, for example, it may be more important to pay off your credit cards first. In this situation, you’d want to put the credit card payments on the top of your “Needs” list. You can then add extra money to the credit card payments each month while paying the minimum on your student loans.
You can also look for opportunities to negotiate with your lenders. You might be able to get different payment terms for a student loan, for example, which gives you more money to pay on your credit cards! Everyone’s needs are different, which is why making your list is so important.
You’ll also prioritize your “Wants” list. Put the most important items at the top of your list. What can you do to relieve some of your stress? Depending on your situation, an emergency savings account may relieve more stress than a down payment on a house.