If you want to avoid debt, the biggest factor other than unlimited income is a budget.  If you can’t stick to a budget, you have other options like an equity title loan or mom and dad, perhaps, but sticking to a budget is better and a lot less stressful than either of those options.

Before we discuss an equity title loan, let’s look at budgets and how to make them and stick to them.

The best way to create a budget is to simply track your expenses for a month or two.  If you only use your debit or credit card, you can go back through a year of spending and see where it went. Divide it into categories.  You might have food as one category, or you might have it as three: food that you bring home and cook, eating out with family and friends, and quick things you grab for work—like your morning coffee and that afternoon soda.

Look at everything you spend, especially including the unusual.  If you only track, say, March and June, for example, you might miss what you spend on Christmas gifts, Thanksgiving feasting, and July fireworks.  So find those occasions as well as your typical utility bills, gas money, food spending, clothing and entertainment costs, and everything.  Then figure it as a yearly cost.

For example, you can set aside $40 per month, year around, to afford some nice fireworks in July. So figure everything as a monthly expense after you look at your totals.

If you look at all that and realize you can’t cover it, you have a few options.  The best is to learn what you can cut. Maybe you don’t buy the fireworks. Maybe you cut out the afternoon soda.

If you have cut everything you can, you can look for a second job or a higher paying one. Or ask for a raise.

But if those don’t work, you know where to find us for an equity title loan. Just remember, at our best, we are a solution for a crunch situation. We still hope you get that budget under control because no one can live off title loans, and we wouldn’t want you to.