Debt comes in many forms. It may be a loan you took out to buy your first car, the winter jacket you bought using a credit card, or a bet you lost to a friend. Regardless of the type, they all have one thing in common – you owe somebody money.
It’s not fun being in debt and it can be tough to get out of it. It’s always easier to dig yourself into a debt hole than it is to climb back out. But, just like anything else, debt can be overcome. You can throw off those chains of debt and acquire the financial freedom you desire.
All it takes is a determination, persistence and commitment.
Here are five ways you can start saving and begin to pay back what you owe.
Your journey to debt freedom begins now.
Minimum Payments Cause Maximum Pain
If you want to stay in debt, just make the minimum payments. With much of what you send away each month going to cover the interest, minimum payments are your enemy. Paying more than the minimum each month will dramatically shorten the time you are in debt. If you are serious about getting rid of your debt, you need to attack it in a straightforward manner.
Pay as much as you can until the debt is gone. If you have multiple debts, start with the one with the highest interest rate and move on down the line.
Change Your Lifestyle
If you’ve spent yourself into debt, you need to change the way you live. Sure, dining out at fancy restaurants three times a week is nice, but not if you can’t afford it. When you are in debt, you need to change the things that caused the problem.
Make The Tough Choices
One way to get rid of a chunk of your debt may be sitting in your driveway. Selling your car can bring in some cash that can be used to pay off some of your debt. If living without a car is impossible, why not sell it and purchase a cheaper model. Or, if you’re family has two cars, just sell one of them. Start car-pooling with friends or get a transit pass.
Tough times call for tough decisions to be made and getting rid of your car may be one of them.
A Commitment To Save
Saving money needs to become both a habit and a hobby. Those that enjoy saving, and take pride in it, are well on their way to paying off their debts. Keep track of good deals you’ve found and tell your friends and family about them. Brag about your newfound frugality.
Clip coupons and go straight to the bargain bins and sale racks. Every dollar you save is a dollar that can go towards your debt.
Don’t Suffer In Silence
Dealing with a problem like debt on your own can be extremely stressful and ineffective. It may be a good idea to reach out and speak with a credit counsellor. They are trained professionals who deal with debt problems each and every day. They can show you the way to the stable financial future you long for.
Debt rarely occurs all of a sudden. It’s a long process that may start small but eventually grows to an overwhelming problem. Escaping from debt is much the same. If you could get out of debt whenever you wanted, you’d probably not be in debt in the first place.
Making small changes to your lifestyle, committing to saving, and reaching out for help are all part of the overall debt solution. It may not be easy – but it’s definitely worth it. When you emerge victorious from your battle with debt, you will feel like you’ve been reborn. You will be able to start living again without the constant specter of your financial situation hovering over you.
You can do it.
Jeffrey Schwartz is the executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada and president of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto. Consolidated Credit is a national non-profit credit counseling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.