MANAGING DEBT

At one time or another, many of us have borrowed more than we can handle. If your debt has put you in an uncomfortable, difficult to manage situation, do not give up hope. But it is important that you learn to get by with what you earn.

Never make excuses as to why you have encompassed do much debt. It is not your parents or the credit card companies fault. Use that negative energy you have towards reducing your debt and paying bills. You may also want to explore enrolling in a debt consolidation program.

Debt is nerve-racking and it can help to talk to someone close about your situation. If you are unable to communicate with a friend or family member, get in touch with a local financial credit counseling company.

Then begin getting a handle on how significant your issue is. Write down on paper all of your debts and what the total amount you owe is. Determining a definite number is a vital initial step.

Developing a Budget
The smartest way to begin eliminating your debt is to put together a budget. A budget is not a punishment but a way of understanding exactly where your money is going. Add up your income and subtract your total expenses. Be truthful to yourself about your spending habits and you will wind up with a more accurate budget.

- Put aside more than the monthly required minimum for your credit card payments.

- Develop an emergency fund. This should be a savings account that should have at the minimum three months worth of expenses. Even putting away $20/week will help. With no emergency fund, unanticipated costs of loss of income can put your further into debt.

What is the plan?
Utilize your budget and plan a strategy for your debt-reduction. Put together a list of all of your debts from the highest interest rate down. Be aggressive and pay down the balances with the highest interest rates first while continuing to make timely, minimum payments your other cards. Your budget will determine the amount that you can dedicate towards your balances every month.

More tips for getting rid of debt:
- If you have extra money in savings, use it to pay off your debt. This savings money will typically dwarf the amount of interest you are paying on your debts. If you have the money in savings, pay off what you can.

- Use any extra money coming in, i.e. a bonus, lottery winnings, to pay off debts.

 -Get a second job or work overtime.

If you are unable to earn addition income, you will need to spend less by determining what Fixed Expense vs. Discretionary Expenses
- Avoid going out to eat.

- Only use cash for purchases. Don't even bring credit cards out with you.

- Get rid of your premium cable service, cell phone plans and/or Internet.

Disadvantages of debt consolidation loans
-You will be better off paying your debts little-by-little as opposed to taking out another loan. Only consider a loan if you have the control to not use credit cards.

- If you do consolidate your credit cards into one, or via a loan, destroy all the credit cards that now have zero balance. The last thing you will want to do is consolidate and then charge up the cards you just consolidated.

- Never borrow from your 401k. You will regret that when you retire.

Use credit cards wisely
It is important that once you are out of debt that you stay out of debt. Stick to your budget. Also, it is important that you avoid using credit cards in the same manner as your did before. In addition, utilize effective bill paying practices.

- Don't use your credit cards.

- Cut up all of your cards but one and make sure the one you save is the one with the lowest interest rate. Only use that card in the event of an emergency.

- If you continue to use your credit cards, pay in full every month and avoid interest charges altogether.

- Get a free copy of your credit report to ensure that there are no errors.

- Whenever you go shopping, make a list of what you need and don't buy anything beyond that list.

- Never use retail store cards. These types of cards have higher interest rates.

Dealing with collectors
It is important that you understand your rights when dealing with debt collectors and collection agencies:

- Debt collectors are not allowed to harass you in any way.

- They may not falsely represent themselves in any way or imply that you have committed any sort of crime if you do not pay your debts.

No matter what you do, never give up hope. Getting into debt does not happen overnight and getting out of debt also will not happen overnight. Getting rid of debt takes time and plenty of fortitude, but it will pay large dividends eventually and help you save

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt
Personal Loans for Paying Off Credit Cards
Paying Off Credit Card Debt
Changes In Spending Habits
Early Warning Signs of Debt Trouble
Problems With Overspending
How to Save Money If You Have Kids
How to Save Money by Changing the Way You Buy Food
Cut Down Work-Related Expenses
Effects of Technology On Consumer Spending Habits
Surviving a Slow Economy
Understanding Debt-to-Income

Budget Planning
Debt Relief in 15 Steps
Credit 101
 

 

 




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