While the last few years haven’t been easy for anyone, it’s certainly given some people an opportunity to pick up some new spending habits (good and bad) at home. The ease in which you could find a new hobby, decide to take on a costly home improvement project, or even get sucked into an addictive video game is all well and good, but it can also get expensive. Even for those in the military, the security blanket of a guaranteed paycheck (tax free if you happen to be deployed) has led many to accrue unsustainable credit card bills. No judgment here. Balancing your budget–as I used to hear all the time when I was in the service–briefs well, but that doesn’t matter when reality sinks in and those minimum payments are due. 

All it takes is one ill-advised purchase to derail your financial security. Maybe you bought a new motorcycle or boat, which you were able to afford at the time, but then much to your dismay a large appliance goes and breaks, requiring immediate replacement. Next thing you know your fiscal plan is in jeopardy and you’re looking at a pile of debt on a credit card with a high interest rate.

If this is starting to hit a little too close to home, don’t worry, we’ve all been there at one time or another. Successfully managing debt is just part of being an adult. Luckily 2022 is a new year and there is always a path out of debt. Thankfully, Navy Federal Credit Union is here to help with a few tips that should ease the journey to financial freedom.

Stick To Your Budget

As we’ve already shown above, having a budget and keeping one are two very different animals. However, sticking to the limits you’ve set for yourself will still minimize the havoc unforeseen expenses will cause when they inevitably pop up. It’s not fun or sexy, but living within your means allows you to accrue wealth and save for that rainy day that will inevitably happen. If you don’t have a budget yet, there are plenty of templates online that can get you started, Google Sheets has a few good ones.

Save each month

Going hand in hand with the tip above, make an allotment in your budget each month for some type of savings, whether it’s a mutual fund, TSP, or just a savings account labeled ‘emergency funds’. Bottom line, a little bit each month protects you from having to dip into living expenses when your 3-year old daughter decides she wants to see how many Barbie dolls can fit in the toilet and manages to flood your entire house (this one was a bit personal). Even a hundred bucks a month will add up over the long run, and the discipline to save means you can have the discipline to work down the debt too.

Consolidate Your Debt

No one is perfect. Expenses happen. Life happens. That’s why credit cards can be so useful, and using your credit to create some breathing room in your other monthly payments can be a responsible way to manage your debt. Finding the right credit card for debt consolidation can seem challenging, but Navy Federal Credit Union has simplified the selection process to make it easy for everyone. Unlike other credit card companies that may charge exorbitant rates and offer confusing terms that leave you worse off than you started, Navy Federal Credit Union keeps your financial best interest in mind. Currently, qualified members who open a new Platinum card can benefit from a low introductory rate for the first 12 months on all balance transfers. That means you could save yourself hundreds within just the first year alone by transferring all your various bills and debts into a single NFCU account. If that wasn’t good enough, they also don’t charge a fee for balance transfers to the account (like many other banks out there).

For more financial tips and tricks check out NFCU’s MakingSense podcast or to find your nearest branch.

 Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA.

This article was sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union.