Control Your Spending. Control Your Debt: Become Debt Free in Six Easy Steps.

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At BancorpSouth, we know that times can be tough. Maybe your health insurance costs have gone up. Maybe your children are getting ready to go to college. Maybe your hours have been cut at work.

If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, there are a few steps you can take to get back on track, starting with your spending habits.

Have you ever tracked your expenses? It’s a little work but well worth the effort. For one month, write down all of your expenses and then analyze them.

  • Are you spending money on things that are needs or wants?
  • Are you paying too much interest on your loans?
  • Where can you “reasonably” cut expenses?
  • Are you staying within your budget, or do you always have to make adjustments?
  • Are you saving any money at all?

  • Then, use the following helpful hints to take control of your debt by taking control of your spending:

    Follow a budget.

    Although people may think it is limiting to follow a budget, you will find that over time, you will be “freer” because you won’t be tied down by debt. You will be able to achieve your financial goals and feel accomplished at the same time. For help, check out BancorpSouth’s BudgetWi$e tool. It provides a complete view of all your finances and makes managing your money as easy as possible.

    Differentiate between “needs” and “wants.”

    When you make purchases, especially with credit, make sure you are focused on what you need and not what you want. For example, you may frequently buy a cup of coffee on your way to work. Ask yourself if that purchase is a need or a want, especially since you can probably make coffee at home. Or think of it this way: If you go through the drive-thru twice a week and spend $3 each time, that’s $300 per year. Is that really how you want to spend your money?

    Plan ahead for large ticket items.

    If you would like to purchase a new TV or computer, make efforts to purchase it with cash you have saved, instead of using credit. You can use BancorpSouth’s Savings Calculator to help you figure out how much you need to save each month in order to purchase a big ticket item. This way, you will earn interest on your savings instead of paying interest on your purchases.

    Build an emergency fund.

    You should save up to the amount of three to six months of your wages to cover unexpected expenses.

    Shop for lower rates on loans.

    Make sure you have the lowest rate possible on each of your loans. If not, take time to refinance (if possible) and lower your rate so you will not be paying as much interest, which will lower your monthly payment.

    The most important thing you can do to eliminate debt is to do something. Speak with a BancorpSouth representative today by calling 1-888-797-7711 or visiting one of our branch offices, and we’ll help you set financial goals and eliminate debt in your life.