Conquer Your Debt This Year
It’s a dilemma that seems to be plaguing everyone to some degree these days. Yes, we are talking about credit card debt. Millions of Americans are affected by this type of financial debt. For some, it is just personal debt and others it may be personal and business debt. Either way, it spells bad news for the one who feels buried in it. But the good news is there are plenty of things that anyone can do to improve their situation when faced with mounting debt. The worst feeling is doing nothing at all, so that’s clearly not an option.
Whether you want to get out of debt, repair your credit rating, or you simply want to save more money this year, consider these finance-savvy solutions:
Have A Plan –
The first step for anyone determined to get out of debt is to put together a plan. Now is the time for them to figure out which creditors can be placed on the back burner for a while and which ones simply can’t wait. It’s also a good idea for them to begin paying down the debts with the highest interest rates first. Also, it never hurts to call the credit card companies yourself to see if they might they might be willing to lower your interest rate.
You are not going go anywhere fast without a game plan. Meet with a non-profit credit counselor who will help you lay out a plan for getting out of debt and improving your finances in the years to come. This is something that can help you out immensely, especially if you simply don’t know what to do about the debt that you are currently dealing with. The phone call to a non-profit credit counseling agency is free and completely confidential. You literally have nothing to lose by making the call and speaking to a certified credit counselor.
Get Organized –
Those who want to get out of debt should really sit down and comb over everything they owe. Organizing exactly how much they owe will really give them a clear vision of the task ahead. Seeing the bottom line of what they owe might sound scary, but it’s a bridge that must be crossed if things are ever going to get better.
Taxes are something that stresses most people out, and it’s usually because they aren’t organized and they don’t know where all the receipts went. Get a head start so you aren’t as anxious about taxes. Too many people put off doing their taxes and get swamped at the last minute, and this means that you are not thinking about the deductions that you could be taking. You might miss out on tax break opportunities. Get organized for taxes and you’ll have less stress when tax time rolls around.
Getting organized also helps you realize how much clutter you have and so many “things” that you’ve purchased and maybe never used or have only used once or twice. It shows us how much we consume without first thinking about it. You could also sell unwanted or unused items to make extra money to help you pay off some debt. Getting organized has many benefits, but improving your finances and fattening up your wallet may be the most important of them all.
Stop Using Credit Cards Now –
Let’s face it. This is another tough one for many individuals. People are bombarded everywhere with the temptation to utilize credit card services. But if someone is going to get out of debt this step must also be fulfilled. You are essentially borrowing money whenever you use a credit card. Some debt relief companies may recommend keeping one credit card for emergencies but it should not be used unless absolutely necessary. However, this temptation may prove too much for some individuals. If a person has some self-control issues with credit card use then the only way to be certain this will not be a problem is to get rid of all the credit cards. For some, every credit card should be destroyed as in cut up so it can’t ever be used again. They can use cash or a debit card for things like paying bills or making occasional electronic payments for necessities.
If you’re someone who is trying to repair your credit and you’re not deeply in debt, it might be worth your while to take out a credit card and start using it to make some small purchases and then paying the balance in full every month. If you don’t have any credit cards, check out secured cards first because they have fewer restrictions. Having no credit at all is actually worse than having poor or even bad credit. Now, this does not mean that you should spend it without a plan. The problem is that an unused credit card in your pocket does not do anything. Instead, use it to pay for regular items like your grocery bill or your gas and simply pay it off immediately in full each billing cycle. Pay it on-time each and every month, this is extremely vital.
Set Financial Goals –
Always give yourself something to aim for and not just as a New Year’s Resolution because we all know how well those work out. Whether you want to reduce your debt by half or eliminate it entirely, set a big goal that you can reach for. It’s also a good idea to set smaller goals to help keep you motivated and excited. These smaller more attainable goals will make it easier for you to stay on course throughout the rest of the year! An example of a smaller goal would be to save $50 every month and put it into a savings account for an emergency.
Start Saving More Money –
One of the best ways to get out of debt is to start saving money for emergencies. Make sure you have an emergency fund or a “rainy day” fund for the unexpected. By doing so, your spending habits will begin to change, and for the better! Saving more money will help your self-esteem and encourage you to keep going forward. Don’t just work hard for money now; make that money “work for you”! Whether that means saving for college, saving to buy a house or contributing more money to your retirement plan.
Avoid Living Large –
This one should be a no-brainer for anyone trying to get out of debt. However, it may be more a matter of willpower than knowledge. As they say, “old habits die hard”. For most this means cutting back on eating out every night, getting rid of the expensive cable TV, mowing their own lawn, etc. Literally doing anything that leaves more money each month for paying down their debt is a must. One big help with overcoming the temptations of living in extravagance is for those trying to pay off debt to keep reminding themselves of the food, rent, health care premiums, and gas or transportation expenses that they must pay.
Become Finance Savvy –
The more knowledgeable you are about a certain subject (finances), the more at ease you are with making decisions and handling things. You don’t have to be a stock broker, banker, or guru in debt relief solutions, just learn the basics and what works for you. Research how credit actually works and learn to use it wisely. The more financial knowledge you have, the stronger your financial position will be because you won’t second-guess your decisions all the time, you’ll just know!
Think About A Credit Union –
Banks can be incredibly varied on the rules that they follow and the fees that they impose. If you want things to be a lot simpler, think about joining a credit union. While a credit union typically requires you to meet some kind of specification, it’s worth finding one that suits you for the lower rates on loans and the higher interest rates on your savings account.
Borrow From Family And Friends –
You don’t want to take out a loan to pay off debt. That’s just moving your debt around. Think about it, you can’t pay off debt by getting even more debt with a loan. If someone has the opportunity to temporarily borrow money from family or friends without a hassle it can be a great way to help you get through the difficulty of paying down debt. Many times this is where someone can borrow at very low or zero percent interest as opposed to a personal loan with high interest. It’s not easy asking family or friends for help like that, but it beats having to file for bankruptcy or losing your house.
Paying down debt takes determination and persistence on the part of the debtor. However, the reward in the end is the peace and satisfaction that comes from being debt-free.
If you are looking forward to making sure that you get your money issues resolved this year, there are a number of options for you to consider. A Debt Management Plan could be just the thing you are looking for. Give Advantage Credit Counseling Service a call at 866-699-2227 or visit us online at www.advantageccs.org