When it comes to finances, people fall into a few different groups.
This first group is what nearly all of us fall into; they know the basics. They know how to balance a checkbook. They have a couple of credit cards that they make payments on. They get their bills paid on time. They might not have a great looking savings account or a diverse portfolio of investments, but it doesn't cripple their day-to-day lives. They get by, but they could do better. Any debt they carry might best be handled by a debt consolidation loan. Like most folks, they have an average credit score.
Working with a financial advisor or choosing between a wide variety of budgeting software will very likely get them here:
This group has what it takes! They have a healthy savings account. Credit cards? Pffft, who needs 'em! This group is liquid - they can pay cash for whatever they want. They're diverting pre-tax dollars from their income into a 401k. They probably have a broker and are trading on the stock exchange (keeping that portfolio diverse!) They have a fantastic credit score, are most likely debt free (or have consolidated their debt), and well on their way to planning for an earlier retirement.
Here's another group of folks:
These folks are just a few steps behind our first group. Maybe they aren't getting all of their bills paid on time, but they're working on it! They probably have a few more credit cards then that first group (or maybe some student loans?) They've heard of a 401k and a Roth IRA, but they're not really sure what the benefit is (though they're willing to learn). Hey, this group is not perfect...there's definitely some areas for financial improvement. Mostly, they're just wasteful with money. They spend (or flat out lose) their money, without being thoughtful about where it goes.
Fortunately, a financial advisor or a favorite budgeting app could definitely shore up those loose ends and get them to catch up the first group in no time at all.
Now, it's time to turn to another group entirely - a group so neglected, we have to zoom way out to see them.
It's a very different world for these folks.
They miss payments and bounce checks frequently. Income is inconsistent. Their credit score is so low (or non-existent) that debt consolidation isn't even their vocabulary. This, in turn, complicates their job search, when employers decide to perform background checks.
Meanwhile, they're forced to turn to predatory payday lenders charging astronomical interest and borrower fees. They shuffle through a stack of credit cards as if they were getting ready to deal out a hand of blackjack. Medical bills continually flow in. They might even have someone in the family with a shopping addiction. Lenders call and harass for payment. The quality of life for this is group is downright miserable.
Take a look at that image once more. The most important take away should be: this group isn't even on solid ground. The other three groups are on a completely different level.
We Have Questions
For the broad majority of apps and/or advisors out there, we at Debt Decimator have a few questions.
What good is a budget alarm warning "Ooops! Overspent on Groceries!" when folks don't have a consistent enough income to set a grocery budget in the first place?
How can a professional advise debt consolidation to a group that is forced to lean on credit as a means to get by?
Why is a budgeting app educating this group about Roth IRAs when it should be educating them about how a bank makes money off their poor financial decisions?
Instead of reminding a person when to make a minimum payment on a credit card...why aren't these apps telling people what they should be paying on their cards, in order to climb out of debt?
We ask ourselves questions like these at Debt Decimator, but consistently find that they aren't getting answered. So, we've taken matters into our own hands. The time has come to address this group of folks, salvage their mental health, and arm them with the tools necessary to regain a foothold in life.
If someone is drowning, do you throw a handful of credit cards at them that boast 0% APR FINANCING FOR THE FIRST 18 MONTHS?
...or do you link arms, wade in toward them, reach out your hand and say, "I got you."
Extreme budgeting techniques are practical, real-world solutions to dire situations. You're not going to get any "JUST PAY YOUR CARDS OFF AT THE END OF THE MONTH LOL!!1!" advice here – these are practical adjustments, tips, tricks, and lifehacks that get you back on solid ground. As they saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures.
We are those desperate measures.
Do not give up. Do not declare bankruptcy. Click the green button below to sign-up for the Debt Decimator mailing list and we'll get you started with five free lessons on extreme budgeting. You'll also be the first to know whenever we've posted another tip or trick to the Debt Decimator blog.
Most importantly: as the Debt Decimator product nears its release date (COMING SOON!), you'll be the first person to know when and where to get your hands on it. We can't wait to share this extreme budgeting tool with you.
You've got this. Let's regain some footing. Let's get back on solid ground.