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Credit clean up can be a daunting task, especially when you have no idea which direction to go. Once you have taken on the task of paying off debt, adding good accounts and disputing the incorrect information on your credit report the time has come to set a plan into action for the future to avoid getting yourself into the same financial mess. A plan can be a simple as giving yourself some ground rules around spending and money management, or as intense as hiring a money manager or freezing your credit cards. You need to think about the methods it will take to get you into a habit and practice of spending smart and efficiently.

Money should be respected, after all you work hard for it and you should be able to enjoy life with it, within reason. Many people find themselves living above their means and often have such a hard time reeling back in after a financial crisis, but planning for the future does not have to mean depriving yourself of all the things you love or time out with your friends, in fact it shouldn’t. Like with dieting, if you deprive yourself you are more prone to failure than if you just learn a more healthy approach.

While, you were working through your debt pay off plan and other aspects of debt management there should have been a period of time when you kept track of your daily spending to see where you money was going and how you could conserve and pull from that to pay off the debt. You should pull this list out now and take a look at it in a different light. Before you were living from the list, taking everything for granted and during your pay off time you were living without any extras and in complete deprivation, now is the time to find balance. Through the time of depravity you should have built a more solid sense of what is important and what is not. Do you really need to spend $7 a day on an iced mocha when you are trying to lose weight? No way, you are sabotaging yourself and wasting money. Even if you don’t drink coffee, you understand the point. Go back through the list and start with the things that were unnecessary and that you have learned to live without and highlight the little things you missed. If the items you missed are still hard on your monthly budget then look for ways to cut them down a bit. If you can’t live without a salon visit for hair and nails, instead of going once a week, go once every two weeks instead. Stylists and nail technician all know ways to make your cut and manicure last longer. Take advantage of this and save a little money.

Now, that you know what areas you can survive without and how to make your money stretch so that you are living within your means, you can relax a little and continue on your journey toward a brighter financial future. With a few little changes and some self discipline you can find a way to start new healthy spending habits and get rid of the old. This will round out your credit clean up work and help you to avoid falling into the same situation in the future. Plus, wouldn’t it be great to save for that dream vacation?