"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This quote was uttered by Franklin Roosevelt back in 1932. While the message applied to the stock market crash and the resultant Great Depression, the phrase remains relevant today. Anyone facing a difficult task or starting a new chapter in life would attest to the fact that fear and anxiety do influence your judgment and actions under new circumstances.[cite::219::cite]

When it comes to money, newlyweds or college graduates who spend mindlessly using credit cards for unnecessary items might hope the debt disappears if they avoid looking at the statement each month. Unfortunately, the world of finance doesn't work that way. Creating a plan to pay down debt and live within your means is far more effective than wishing your bills away. 

Replacing Doubts with Actions 

Accumulating high credit card balances is unsettling. If ignored, unpaid debt can upend the lives of well-intentioned folks who let spending spiral out of control. Credit scores can suffer from overuse of cards and, as you're aware, this misstep may prevent you from buying a house or landing a job. Yet, there's no need to let fear consume you. The best plan to pay off credit card debt is to grab the proverbial bull by the horns. 

Most experts will recommend developing a strategy to reduce your debt and curtail your poor spending habits at the same time. Primarily, this plan involves putting credit card usage on the back burner and hammering out a budget that jives with your income. There will be some sacrifices along the way.

Those changes may entail skipping the daily three-dollar latte or selling the SUV for a sedan. At any rate, attacking the problem, tracking spending, and having a little extra each month to pay down debt will calm your fears and have you feeling better about your overall financial picture. 

Budgeting Made Easy 

Have you ever done something you didn't want to do and wondered afterward what all the anxiety was about? Planning a budget might fall into that category. Managing your income wisely requires ample doses of discipline and common sense. If you do your part, you can find a number of helpful tools to round out the process. Money management has become simpler in the digital age with common software applications. You can call up budgets instantly and analyze spending trends monthly. From anywhere at any time, a financial snapshot falls right to your fingertips.

If technology isn't your thing, don't despair. Many people prefer traditional methods of keeping tabs on income and expenses, and those systems still get the job done. Each time you mail out the electric bill or debit your account for groceries, make a habit of entering those items into your check register.

Some folks tackle spending analyses from a 50/30/20 angle. Using this approach, you allocate half of your earnings to expenses such as mortgages, utilities, and food. Entertainment, dining out, etc., should account for 30 percent of your budget and the remaining 20 percent gets directed toward paying down debt, establishing an emergency fund, and saving for retirement.

Being Fearless Means Being Free 

There's a valid reason why people have mortgage-burning parties. They've just erased one of the biggest financial commitments they'll ever incur. The feeling of exhilaration as the weight lifts from a homeowner's shoulders is indescribable. On the other side of the coin, it's not pleasant to have crushing debt follow you doggedly from graduation until your post-retirement days. Granted, there's nothing debilitating about the careful use of loans and credit cards. And that's where a prudently structured budget comes into play. 

Creating a budget might frighten you, but remember: It's not rocket science. You have a choice between financial freedom and carelessly tossing your money into the wind each month. Choosing the latter will relegate your life to constant worry over high-interest debt that prevents you from accumulating wealth and adequately funding retirement. So if fear of a cramped lifestyle is the only thing holding you back from planning and honoring a budget, realize that peace of mind overrides the quest for a phantom piece of the pie.

Make It Happen

Perhaps the only rational fear when it comes to personal finance is the fear of taking no action at all. Some people prefer to gloss over bank statements and bills in hopes that obligations are met and a few bucks remain at the end of the month. This scenario is entirely possible, but it won't happen without a concerted effort to create a household budget and abide by it.

Also, don't just draw up a budget in theory. Individuals who write down goals achieve their objectives more often than people who just pay lip service to the concept. Contact National Bank of Arizona today to connect with all the expertise and tools needed to put your own plan in place. 

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