At some point in our lives all of us will carry some debt, including the wealthiest people in the world. While some of us have a higher tolerance for debt and spend very little time worrying about it, others panic at the mere thought of it. If you currently find yourself in debt and are struggling to deal with it, here are some straightforward ways to tackle your debt head on.
Tackling Your Debt Head On
Figure Out How Much You Owe
You might think that when it comes to loans, mortgages and credit cards, everyone already knows how much they owe on each loan, as well as the grand total. But that is so untrue. Most people never pay attention to how much money they owe until the phone starts ringing and the nasty collection letters arrive on their doorstep.
If you want to take control of your finances and deal with your debt, the first thing you need to do is to add it all up. Make sure you are sitting down first, because that way you will be closer to the floor when you pass out from the shock of how much debt you are actually carrying.
Find Ways to Spend Less
The next step to tackling your debt is to find ways to spend less money. The plan is simple. The less you spend the more you can put towards paying off your debt.
Even if you have never done it before, adopt a frugal lifestyle. Figure out how to spend less on your highest expenses, such as groceries, utilities, and entertainment. If you find that you typically head to the shopping mall every weekend and come home with a number of items, you need to stop.
Find something else to do with your free time, such as working on a hobby or doing volunteer work.
If you currently have a mortgage on your house with a higher interest rate than what is currently being offered, use a mortgage calculator to reduce costs. The calculator is quite easy to use and reducing your monthly mortgage payments quickly frees up some cash that you can then use to pay off your other loans and credit cards.
Learn to Say No
Quite often we cannot even account for all the money that we spend. Our buddies at work say let’s go out for lunch, and off we go. Friends call on Friday afternoon and say let’s meet up for drinks tonight, and off we go. Our kids beg for new toys and games and we instantly hand over our credit card. Our spouse wants a new computer or a new TV, and the next thing you know your living room is full of new stuff.
If this is happening in your life you need to learn to say no.
Make Multiple Automatic Payments
Loans typically have a fixed monthly repayment schedule and the monthly payment is usually automatically withdrawn from your bank account. But when it comes to credit cards there are many ways that you can pay off what you owe. While the average person will simply make a payment at the end of the month, either online, or in person at their bank, other people have setup automatic payments.
And they take those automatic payments one step further. Instead of paying just once a month, they have a payment transferred to their credit card everytime they get paid at work.
So if they get paid every week, they make a weekly payment. If they get paid bi-weekly, they make a bi-weekly payment. Why? Because by doing this month after month, they are reducing the amount of interest that they are being charged on their outstanding debt, while paying off the amount they owe quicker.
Increase Your Income
You will stand a much better chance of tackling your debt head on if you are able to find ways to increase your income. And there are so many ways to do that these days. Everything from a simple garage sale, to finding a part-time job, to doing some freelance consulting work on the side, will help you bring in more cash that you can use to pay off your debt quicker.
Enjoy What You Already Have
Quite often we are in debt because we enjoy buying new things. New house, new car, new furniture, new whatever.
When you are already in debt the last thing you want is for the amount that you owe to continue to grow. So as mentioned above, you need to spend less.
If you are the type of person that instantly feels deprived when you are told that you cannot spend money the way you use to, you need to find new ways to deal with that. One of the simplest ways is to learn to enjoy all the things that you already have.
As you adopt these suggestions and begin making changes to your personal finances you will feel better because you will be in control of your debt instead of your debt controlling you.