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3 Things You Need to Do Before You Spend Any More Money

Apprisen Financial Advocates says first..."Develop a Strong Money Management Plan"

Columbus, Ohio - February 10, 2011 - In January Apprisen Financial Advocates (CCCS) suggested consumers make 2011 the year to "get and stay on track with their money" a resolution that will have lifelong benefits. Seven key habits that make up good personal financial money management were identified. CCCS is a local nonprofit consumer Financial Services agency that provides personal Financial Services and financial education. This month CCCS focuses on one of those habits, develop a strong money management plan.

Here's how consumers should get started:

  • Get Organized: Put all of your financial records in one place. It could be in a shoebox or a filing system. Separate financial records by type, for example: credit card statements, utilities, a college education fund, retirement, etc. Being able to access financial records quickly will help you feel in control. As you receive bills, highlight the due dates and mark them on a calendar, so bills are paid on time. Don't become a bill hoarder. Most bills can be thrown out in a few months after they have been paid. There are some financial documents that you do need to keep for a few years: taxes, retirement benefits and investment information, and certain medical bills. The idea is to get organized, not overwhelmed with papers.
  • Set Goals: Set financial goals and put them down on paper. Family members and even trusted friends could get involved. In addition to supplying good advice, this group could also serve as a great source of support to help achieve goals. Next, prioritize the goals. Then organize the goals using 3 categories: first, short term goals - to be accomplished within 1 year: second, mid-range goals - to be accomplished in 1-5 years and third, long range goals - to be accomplished in 6 years or longer. Goals act as motivators and keep you focused. Put them in a place where they can be viewed everyday. Goals change as lives change: review goals periodically.
  • Create a Spending Plan: List all income and expenses. Don't rely on estimates. It may be necessary to track income and expenses for 30 days. A successful spending plan needs to be as accurate as possible. Make sure more than the minimum payment is made on your credit card balances. Contribute to an "emergency fund." Have appropriate savings categories to accomplish identified goals. Then add up all the expenses and all the income. Make sure the total income covers the total expenses. If it does not, hard choices need to be made and adjustments will need to be done. Celebrate even small successes when you achieve them. A good spending plan will help make good financial decisions.

Next month another one of the seven habits will be discussed. Consumers can find information on all seven habits to "Get and Stay on Track with Your Money" by calling Apprisen at 800.355.2227

About Apprisen
Apprisen Financial Advocates, a national nonprofit Financial Services agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt since 1955. Certified counselors provide money management, debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling and financial education. Services are provided in- person in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or via the Internet. The oldest nonprofit Financial Services agency in the country, Apprisen Financial Advocates is known in its local communities as Consumer Financial Services Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), Apprisen is a member of the National Foundation for Financial Services (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. Information is available 24/7. Call 800-355-2227 or visit the website, www.apprisen.com. You can also follow CCCS/Apprisen on Facebook and on Twitter.

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