Solid Financial Tips for Getting and Staying Out of Debt for the Generation Y Crowd

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To get your financial goals in check it's important to understand your unique circumstance. First, you need to understand how you accumulated the debt. Was the debt accumulated due to car repairs? Shopping? Education (student loans)? Vacationing?

Once you identify the reasons, then you can plan accordingly. Decide whether the debt is good debt (potential for increase in value, such as education) or bad debt (no potential for increase in value).

Next, prioritize your debt with the highest interest rate because the card with the highest interest rate is more expensive.

Example:
ABC Credit Card 24.99% APY
XYZ Credit Card 12.99%APY
Department Store Credit Card 7.99%APY
Student Loans 4.00% APY

Typically, student loans have the lesser rate. You shouldn't get too overwhelmed about student loans. Understand that it further provided you an education you may otherwise have not been able to afford. You also may be eligible to deduct up to $2500 of your student loan interest, while the other debts you can't.

Payoff Debt - Next you need to set a plan to payoff debt. The card with the highest interest rate is paid off first or pay off the card with the smallest balance first. By paying off the smallest balance first, it will provide a psychological payoff. Remember, the Generation Y crowd needs immediate gratification. I mean we are the "iPod" Generation. Using the latter approach you will stay motivated because you will see one of your debts erased.

Decide on an affordable payment to pay the card that carries the highest rate (say $50 over the minimum), and pay the minimum on the other credit cards. Once you finish paying off the first card, you can use the same payment schedule to pay off the next card.

While the first approach may take a little longer, it will save you more money on interest. I recommend either approach. The most important aspect is you stick with the plan you choose.

Once you paid off all the bad debt (such as the credit cards in my example) then you can put more towards your student loan(s).

Reduce your Spending: The easiest way to do this is to literally write down everything from how much money you bring home to what you spend your money on. Write down EVERYTHING you spend your money on a month, including manicures/pedicures, gym membership, etc.

Next, assess where you spend the most money. Is it rent/mortgage? Dining out? Entertainment? Shopping? Etc? If it's shopping, then reduce the shopping. If it's eating out, then reduce eating out. You will better monitor your spending when you see how much you spend your money and on what areas.

Stay motivated when paying down debt. Have a vision to be debt free. Remember, there's lots of freedom to being debt free.

Take an initiative in understanding YOUR personal finance. I'm sure there are applications for iPhones and other cell phone devices that provide quick information from the swipe of a finger roll. Read books and blogs about personal finance. Applications such as Mint are free websites to help manage your finances.

Set goals and reward yourself. For example, if you paid off a credit card then go out and buy yourself something you can afford with cash.

Purchase items that will benefit you in the long run - Deciding between wanting to purchase and needing to purchase. If you need to purchase, then it's for the long term. If you want to purchase, then it's only beneficial for the short term. When looking at a purchase, don't buy it right then. Walk away and come back to it in a few months. If you still want the same item at that time, then purchase it.

Additional Tips to Organize your Finances:

Use Billpay to pay your bills. It's so much easier and takes less than 1 minute to pay all your bills.

Keep records for your income tax. It will help with itemized deductions.

Use Mobile banking, if applicable.

To make managing your money easier use a free program, such as Mint or ClearCheckbook, which is another free website.

Automatically contribute to your retirement savings and emergency fund.

If possible, begin investing in an investment account even if it's only $50 a month. That's $1.67 a day!

It's that easy to get out of debt. Start now and see how quickly it can happen for you.

Ornella Grosz was recently featured on AOL's WalletPop and is passionate about teaching solid financial planning tips and helping others make the right financial decisions. Grosz holds a BS in Finance and is the author of Moneylicious: A Financial Clue for Generation Y, http://tinyurl.com/29e3g7b Grosz blogs regularly on financial topics at http://www.moneyliciousblog.com. Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

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