Posted in Finances

Five Things To Do To Start The New Year On A Conservative Budget - By Steven Ciantro

Steven Ciantro is a certified credit counselor, a management representative of American Debt Enders, and a former finalist in Inc. magazine and Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year contest. He is also a Talk-Show Radio Host and successful published songwriter and musician (his album January Tyme can be heard on YouTube), the inventor of a patented medical device, a public speaker on debt issues, and the official debt expert for motivational speaker Gail Kasper’s Top 1% Club.


This is an ever popular topic at the beginning of each year, and for very good reason. Unfortunately, the economic signs have yet to point to any improvement. I heard a billionaire by the name of Ed Mercer speak not long ago, and he made the following statement: “I never yet saw a recession I felt I wanted to participate in.” You might be saying, “Sure, how easy is that to say when you are a billionaire, or just extremely successful?” The fact of the matter is, no matter your situation, you must not allow yourself to be blown around by circumstances that are beyond your control. It is a mindset— turning lemons into lemonade—that will determine your outcome, not external circumstances.


Note: While as of this writing we are not in a technical recession, I use the term because when you are trying to make a conservative budget work, it feels like you are in a recession. Companies that started during recessions include FedEx, Hyatt, Microsoft, and, believe me, many, many more. So, whether you are managing your personal finances, your family’s finances, or your business finances, the same basic rules apply. 


The Basic Premise Is to Lay Out an Operating Plan for Going Forward.


1-Budget. This is the most important thing you can do anytime to keep your finances under control. Does the fact that the US government has been operating without a budget for the last three years tell you what happens when you neglect this exercise? You can visit How to Budget to learn the basics and download a great spreadsheet to track your income and outgo.


It is absolutely possible to find at least an extra $500 per month on a modest salary by budgeting.


2-Take an inventory. Are there things that are stationary that are costing you money, maybe even in your sleep? High-wattage light bulbs? Maybe you have two refrigerators—do you absolutely need two of them? Are thermostats on timers? Here is a big one: cable TV. Are you one of those people who simply must have every channel available on cable? If not, you could probably save at least $50 per month by doing an assessment. 


3- Driving. Are you driving efficiently? A friend of mine recently pointed out that the relatively new tires on my car looked like they needed air. So, I purchased a tire gauge and, sure enough, they definitely were not meeting the manufacturer’s specs, which can be found on the door panel after you open the door. After the adjustment, the change was dramatic. I went from putting gas in twice a week to only once per week, and I was driving the same distances. In other words, examine everything.


4- It is usually important to have emergency credit if your budget is tight. If you use that credit, are you going to be paying more because of a low credit score? You can call 888-586-2661 and get a totally free assessment of your credit report and credit score to see what can be done to raise your score. No obligation—no one will try to sell you anything.


5-Lastly, if you feel trapped because you are paying high interest rates on a credit card, know that something can be done about that. You can get an absolutely free credit counseling session to address that problem by visiting American Debt Enders. While you cannot get that interest rate lowered, a credit counselor can.


There you have it. This little action plan can have a dramatic effect on your financial stress level going forward, and is absolutely easy to accomplish.


If you would like to subscribe to the FREE Credit Counseling Newsletter, simply leave your email address here. We never share your information. If you have a debt problem and need free credit counseling, feel free to contact me at or 877-766-246. 


ABOUT STEVEN CIANTRO: Steven is well suited to advising on debt issues. Growing up from humble beginnings, he personally made a fortune from nothing in his earlier years and lost it. The experience completely altered his value system. It seemed every professional debt expert Steven and his wife spoke to wanted to put them into even more debt to help them. It took years for them to untangle the financial mess, which they ultimately did on their own, gaining a tremendous education in the process. However, the experience left Steven with chronic kidney disease, which he still battles today. In 2004, Steven found work at a national nonprofit credit counseling company. After six months, he became regional manager; Steven had found a new calling. He is in the unique position of not only being a true expert on debt relief issues, but also understanding firsthand how oppressive debt can be. In 2006, American Debt Enders was started as a company that would offer free credit counseling; it was among the first companies in the nation to use the business model of offering multiple debt relief programs and solutions under the same roof.


This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit