Does life feel like it is spinning out of control? Has a high-flying lifestyle set you on a crash course toward financial ruin? Have your credit card balances snowballed beyond your control? Then it is time for you to take control of your finances.

To have successful money management, wealth accumulation, and financial freedom, you must take control of your finances. No one else is going to do it for you. You are responsible for your finances.

“Money doesn’t manage itself,” Robert Schuller.

1. Figure your current net worth. You can not take control of your finances before you know what your current financial situation is. You need to know what your current net worth is. Is it positive, or is it negative because of all the debt your family has accumulated? Do you have investments? Valuable antiques? Valuable personal property? Debts? Credit card bills? A home mortgage? You can use our printable net worth worksheet to help you figure out your family’s current financial position.

2. Start a record file system. If you desire to become financially successful, you need to keep track of your financial records and statements. Keep in mind that disorganization costs money. Buy a small file cabinet and start keeping and organizing all financially related papers.

3. Income and expense record book. You also need a clear picture of what the family’s total monthly income is. How much are you earning? Your spouse? Are there interest and dividend payments you could add to your total monthly income? You must know how much money is coming in to your household and how much is being spent. Include every purchase and every cent. You will never be able to take control of your finances until you have a firm understanding of your current income and spending habits.

4. Start a budget. Start a budget, and stick with it. Once you know how much income you have and where and what you are spending your money on, you can create a budget. You do not need a certain “income” to budget and save money. All it takes is the self-discipline to learn how to save and to take action to save a little bit each paycheck.

5. Create financial goals. After you have a clear picture of your current financial position, create a written list of goals you desire to accomplish. Get out of debt? Save enough money equal to 6 months income for emergencies? Pay of the auto loans or student loans? Start investing in an investment program, such as a Roth IRA? Save enough money to purchase your family’s own house? Where do you desire to be financially one year from now? You may want to create several lists of goals in a time-frame of six months, one year and five years. Place your list on the refrigerator door so everyone in the family will see it and constantly be reminded of what your family is shooting for.

6. Taking control. If you have followed the above by calculating your current net worth, organized all your family’s financial records, created a record book of your income and expenses, started a budget, and created financial goals of how much you desire to accomplish, you will be taking control of your finances. You will no longer be controlled by bills, debt and uncontrolled spending, but rather, you will be saving money, getting out of debt, accumulating wealth, and becoming financially independent. You will be saving your way to success. Congratulations and good luck on your endeavors!