How to Slash Those Pesky Debts
Debts are a drain on your energy and finances. It’s stressful to get all those bills each month and your debts are making your debtors wealthy while shrinking your own paycheck. Luckily, you can fight back. Here’s how:
1. Focus on wants, not needs. Think basic food, shelter, and health care. Paying rent is important – buying the latest gadget is not. Your power bill is vital but a new subscription to that magazine is not. Learn to tell the difference.
2. Tighten spending – and make it fun. Make saving a game. Try to find creative ways to save cash. Plenty of people find it kind of fun to find cheap or free ways to get things done while watching savings pile up.
3. Create an Emergency Fund. If you have lots of student loans, personal loans, credit card balances and other debts, you might be tempted to funnel all your extra cash into repaying your debts. Don’t. If you run into an emergency and don’t have an emergency fund, you’ll need to borrow more, digging you in deeper. An emergency fund helps you break the borrowing habit.
4. Carry cash. Leave your credit cards at home when you head out. Pay cash for everything, because when it’s gone you can’t spend more than you have.
5. Increase your mortgage payments. Double your mortgage payments or use bonuses and tax returns to cut down the time it will take for you to repay your home.
6. Negotiate with your creditors. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, talk to your creditors. They might be willing to reduce your interest rate, waive fees, or even settle for less than what you owe. But you won’t know unless you ask.
7. Consider consolidation. If you have multiple debts with high interest rates, consolidating them into one loan with a lower interest rate could save you money in the long run. Just be sure to read the fine print and understand the fees associated with the loan.
8. Find ways to increase your income. Look for ways to earn extra money, whether it’s taking on a side gig, selling unused items, or negotiating a raise at work. Every little bit helps when it comes to paying off debt.
9. Stay motivated. Paying off debt can be a long and difficult journey, but it’s worth it in the end. Keep reminding yourself of your goals and celebrate small victories along the way.
10. Seek professional help if needed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, consider seeking help from a financial advisor, credit counselor, or debt settlement company. They can provide guidance and support as you work towards becoming debt-free.