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It’s Good to Think About Whether Paying Off Debt vs. Saving Is the Right Move, but It’s Better to Get to that Stage First.

Almost all of us could benefit from having more money in savings. Putting money aside early and often not only lets you make purchases without needing to dip into credit debt and loans, but it also gives you something of a personal financial safety net in case of emergency. But what about all the debt you’ve already accrued? Surely, there’s something to be said for focusing on paying off personal debts and then setting your sights on building up your bank accounts. You’ll find no shortage of people to expound on the benefits of either approach, but this issue is actually a step ahead of where most people are in terms of their personal budget planning. Before you can decide what to do with extra disposable income, you need to have it, and the best way to do that is to have the clearest possible picture of your financial situation, develop a well-thought-out personal financial plan and then stick to that plan.

Deep Breath, and Plan

More and more Canadians are finding themselves further in debt than they ever have been before. For many, it can seem like they’re at the whim of any number of creditors, lenders or others looking to collect. In a situation where it feels like you’re buried in debt, it can be tempting to make spontaneous decisions with any additional money that happens to come along. This is a risky move, however, and one of the big reasons that people find themselves with large amounts of personal debt troubles is that they haven’t got a clear picture of their personal financial situation. Thankfully, there are many options when it comes to financial planning software that can help with this. Whether you’re looking at a spending planner or debt management software, or even personal finance coaching to augment the technological tools, getting a better view of your own money matters is the best place to start in order to retake control of your finances. Once you have the big picture, then the planning starts.

One Step at a Time

Once you’ve got all the information you need, you can take the first steps toward financial freedom. Few people realize how easy it can be to make really impactful changes to your personal spending and saving habits. By knowing where you are headed, you’ve taken those first steps already. All that remains is to keep going on that track. Armed with the knowledge gained through your personal accounting software, and your discipline and dedication to getting your finances back on track, you can follow the choices you’ve laid out and get ever-closer to the goals you’ve set for yourself. Maybe it means packing a lunch to bring to work each day or skipping that second coffee in the morning. The little things add up, and by keeping close track of your spending and debt, you’ll be surprised by how much you can start saving in no time.
Once you’ve set and followed your financial plan, you’ll be well on your way. Before you know it, a little extra disposable income at the end of the month will be the norm rather than a surprising rarity, and you’ll finally be able to weigh in with your opinions on that ultimate personal finance showdown: "pay off debt vs. saving.”