I don’t think I know of anyone who likes being in debt. Do you? If you, or someone you know are trying to get out of debt, here are some ideas that will help.
The first thing you should do is figure out all the debts you have. Which debts have the highest interest rates? If it’s from a credit card, call your creditors and work on getting the rate reduced. If they won’t do it, tell them you’ll take your business somewhere else. The key here is to be polite, but be persistent and don’t give up. It may take several calls, but it’ll usually work.
Call the company with the highest rate first, get the interest rate lowered, and work your way down to the cards with lower rates. But get every single one of your credit cards down to the lowest interest rate possible.
Stop Using the Card
Adding to your debt while you’re trying to get rid of your existing debt is like intentionally trying to sabotage your own financial well-being. With that said, you need to stop making purchases with the card. If that’s a struggle for you, here are some tips on how to keep yourself away from the cards.
- Put them in a safe and lock it away.
- Put them in a cup of water, and freeze them. Seriously.
And last but not least, if you’re bold enough,
- Cut them up into pieces.
However, though you need to stop using the credit card, don’t close the account. This will have a negative effect on your credit score.
Make More Than the Minimum Payments
If you just make the minimum payments, you could very well be stuck in debt for the rest of your life. Does that sound like a situation you’d like to be in?
So pay the minimum amounts on all your debts, plus put an additional 10% of your take-home pay on the debt with the lowest balance. Why the lowest balance? Because once that debt is finally paid off in full, you’ll feel like you’ve made progress and accomplished something good.
After the first debt is paid off, do not start spending the money you used to pay off that debt. Remember that you’re still in debt. Instead, take the minimum payment plus 10% of your pay, and use it to pay down your debt with the next lowest balance.
Get Help with Your Bills
If you can’t pay all your bills, learn better ways to budget your money and cut your expenses. Take care of the bare necessities first, and cut ruthlessly where you can.
Among the necessities I can think of are food, housing, and work-related expenses such as transportation and clothing. After these and other necessities in your life are taken care of, find ways to cut back on or eliminate luxuries. Here are some suggestions.
- Cut cable TV for awhile.
- Get rid of your gym membership and exercise outdoors, or in your own home.
- Cook at home more, and eat out less.
- Shop for a cheaper phone plan.
Remember, this is only a temporary inconvenience while you get out of debt and back into a good financial situation.
Do you have any other tips on how to pay off your debt?
Photo by alancleaver_2000