Money and Debt
There never seems to be enough money to get rid of the debt, does there? With these five tips, you can manage your debt and get in control of your money once and for all.
You can't pay it off if you don't know how much you owe. Start by taking inventory of your financial situation. How much do you bring in each month? How much do you spend on essentials?
And what about the debts themselves? For every debt, find out the following: What is the full amount owing? What are the monthly interest rates and minimum payments? And while you have them on the phone, ask if they can reduce your interest rate. Many financial institutions are willing to cut interest rates by up to 50%. Don't panic if this feels overwhelming, this is just step one! By step five your debt will be a thing of the past.
Do The Math
Okay, you've done the hard part, you've taken a good look at your financial situation. Now it's time to figure out how much money you have available for debt repayment, after covering your necessities. (And I do mean necessities: rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, etc.. Sadly, Starbucks just doesn’t count as an essential item.)
Start putting the bulk of your available money for monthly debt repayment against the debt with the highest interest rate, and minimum payments for all the others. Continue like this until you've paid off your first debt. Then take a moment and be proud of your accomplishment! You're well on your way! Now, increase the payment on the debt with the next highest interest rate and so on until there's nothing left. It takes time and commitment, but you can do this!
It's time to evaluate wants versus needs. Do you need two cars? Can you make do with one and sell the other? Do you need a new car? Can you trade it in and buy one for less money, one that you can purchase outright, and not have to pay off monthly? Do you have multiple big screen televisions? What about your cable package? Do you need the latest iPhone? Where can you cut back?
If you have the capacity to do so, look for additional work to help supplement your income. Can you put in an extra shift at your current job? Deliver weekly flyers?? If you're a stay-at-home parent, what about taking in another child? Look around you: what needs doing in your neighborhood and will someone pay you to do it for them?
Cash on the Nail
Congratulations! You’ve done it! You’ve paid off all your outstanding debts! Now you just have to make sure that you don't fall back into the old habits that first brought you here the first time around. The simplest way is to use cash because you can't spend what you don't have. In a constantly increasing plastic-money economy, it's easier than ever to lose track of your finances with electronic purchases.