7 savvy steps to escape the credit grid
Write a list of spending priorities
Make a list of bills and priorities in order of importance, says Kirchenbauer. Doing so is important from a practical perspective because if you've been leaning heavily on credit, you may not have the cash flow to cover all your expenses.
"This is an opportunity to really reflect on 'What is important to me and what am I spending money on?' and 'Are those two things lining up?'" Kirchenbauer says.
If you run out of cash while setting aside money for nonessential items, it may be time to re-evaluate what constitutes a need. You may be surprised how much fat there is in your budget spent on things such as cable television, alcohol and cell phone service plans that can be cut to get your budget on track.
"There might be some luxuries that you end up trading off for, but it's also an opportunity to say, 'We've been spending money on X, but what we really think is important is Y,'" says Kirchenbauer. "What are the key categories that you want to be spending money on and what are you willing to trade in order to maintain those?"