Chelsea: I am a full-time business process analyst and a part-time retail sales associate. I have a lot of spreadsheets going with my finances and each spreadsheet tells a different story. I check my expenses monthly, make sure I’m budgeting correctly. I also track my daily expenses to make sure I’m not spending too much.

The amount of debt that I have does cause financial stress on me.

Greg McBride: Chelsea is in the same boat as a lot of people. Giving her this plan will hopefully relieve her of the burden of having to work 2, sometimes 3 jobs.

Hi, Chelsea!

Chelsea: Hi, Greg. How are you?

Greg: I know that your concern has been the debt, but frankly the debt is not your biggest problem. The issue really is the lack of emergency savings.

Chelsea: I know I needed an emergency fund, but I thought debt was more of a priority.

Greg: Your zero percent balances, you don’t necessarily have to rush to pay those off now. Just get them paid off before that zero percent time period expires. The plan I put together for you is really going to work on building up that emergency savings cushion. The best way to really accomplish this is setting up a direct deposit into a dedicated savings account and be pretty aggressive with it. Let’s work on the retirement savings, too — in particular, funding the Roth IRA. As I see it, by the time we get to next spring, if you wanted to scale back your marathon work schedule I think you’d be in a position to do so.

Chelsea: Well, thank you so much. It was good to get a different perspective, especially Greg’s perspective that I’m not helpless, I’m not hopeless — so, everything was good.

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