Tips to Eliminate Debt
If you are in debt and want to take charge of your money and finance, this article has steps to help - what to do now, what to do next along with some tips for the way forward to stay debt free.
Whether the amount of money you owe is so large that if it were released it'd cause a tsunami or high enough to cause you sleepless nights, here are tips to get rid of debt.
If your debt is high relative to your income, accept that it may take time to get rid of your debt. It probably took a long time to get into this debt position so it can take a long time to pay it off and also to change habits.
The path may not be smooth but taking charge is to be applauded for taking action. You need to make and implement some difficult decisions and sometimes you will go backwards. But keep faith that you can achieve you goals and budget planning is a good first step.
What’s happening now?
You need to take control of your money and even though this will be very difficult, you must make time to look your current position and write down:
- How much debt you have?
- List everyone you owe money to,
- Alongside the list of names, write the amount you owe and in a separate column write down the interest you are paying.
Accept responsibility for the position you are in. Make a resolution to go the hard yards and change your position.
What Steps to Take Now?
- Look closely at your list of expenditure and identify where you can reduce spending. This is the first step in budget planning reduce debt.
- Establish if you are able to commit more than you are currently paying towards your debt commitments. That might mean re-doing your personal budget.
- Allocate more money to the debt with the highest interest, whilst still repaying the minimum (at least) of the other debts.
- Once the highest interest debt has been paid off, work on eliminating the debt with the next highest interest.
- If you are unable to meet some of your debt obligations, talk to the provider of that debt to arrange for ways you can repay it over a longer time frame.
- Think about consolidating your debt. If used wisely its a tool to cut your overall costs. If there is equity in your home you may wish to talk to your financial advisers about increasing your mortgage which is going to be a lower interest rate than other debt, particularly store and credit cards. I hesitate to mention this as an option because all too often high when the high interest debt is swallowed by extending a mortgage, debt piles up again on the higher interest cards so the overall debt position increases.
Staying out of Debt
- Live within your means. Accept that nearly everyone hankers after more money than they currently earn. If you are dissatisfied with your income, find ways to increase it rather than spend beyond it.
- Regularly monitor your expenditure to ensure you are on track. Keep account of those $1 and $2 purchases – they mount up.
- Destroy some or all of your credit cards. If this is too drastic, leave them at home. That way, if you want to make an impulse purchase, you will at least have time to reconsider while on the way home to retrieve them.
- Find free activities in your city or town to reduce entertainment costs.
- Examine how and why you got into debt. You may have issues with your attitude towards money so get help if necessary.
- Some people find it easier to live paying by cash. Try it to see if that works for you. Establish how much you need to, or can afford to, live on each month, and then withdraw that amount in cash each week. When that money runs out, your spending stops.
When you are finally debt free, put some controls in place so that you don’t repeat the experience. Debt cycles are a vice-like trap.
Lock Away Your Credit Cards
Some Ideas for Making More Money
Do anything legal to get additional income to get yourself out of the debt spiral hole sooner.
- If feasible obtain another job to supplement your current income and put this income towards debt reduction.
- Take in a boarder.
- Convert a hobby so that it generates additional money for you.
- Look at everything in your house, wardrobe and garage. What can you sell to turn into cash? Use the proceeds to reduce your debt.
If the path isn’t smooth
Confronting and dealing with being in debt is very challenging. Congratulations for try taking control to climb back to a positive financial position. The path is unlikely to be smooth. There will be times when you go backwards, buy something more on credit when you promised you wouldn’t; didn’t pay off the amount you promised yourself you would. Don’t worry, look at what and why it happened and then try harder next month.Above all, keep focused on what you are trying to achieve. Keep yourself motivated by setting milestones along the way and as you reduce debt, celebrate with some small treat – but make it inexpensive!
This has helped many people overcome debt issues.
The pen and paper workbook option! You can keep track of your spending -one page for every month.
Helpful tips and useful software are included. Top finance writer.
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