Debt is money owned to the lender with outlined obligations such as time and interest charges.
There are many ways to get out debt, but the most difficult thing is being consistent when you cannot see any immediate results. Staying on budget and tracking every dollar, can be the start of empowering your journey towards success.
Below are some effective tips that can easily help you speed along into crushing debt. There is no greater feeling than being debt-free, and yes it takes tremendous planning.
Understand Your Debt
The first step would be to know exactly how much in debt you are. List all your debts by the due date, interest rate, amount and minimum payment. This will give you a clear indication of how much debt you have to pay and the associated interest.
Educate Yourself about Debt
You need all the help you can get in order to demolish your debt and a little help goes a long way. There are many laws and regulations that protect you when facing either debt crisis or finding new ways to pay off debt. The best way to research is to first identify which category your debt is in and then find corresponding laws or regulations that protect you. This is extremely helpful if you decide to negotiate with your lenders. Below are some examples
- Student loan forgiveness
- Fair debt collection practices act
- Debt Consolidation (understanding the pros and cons)
Pull Up Your Credit Report
This should be done on a yearly basis, but in this instance, the purpose is to know exactly what you owe and if there is anything that is being reported that you were not aware of. Dispute any errors as they have a negative impact. The main objective is to increase your score, honestly helps with the interest rates, you will be surprised how much money you can pay towards interest.
Take a Financial Class
There are many ways to get financially educated and honestly, there is always something to learn. The best approach is to find various forms of obtaining financial knowledge that you are comfortable with, whether be it a podcast, a book or a financial blog. Learn new ways in the current phase you are in, for instance, if you are in debt, then debt repayment knowledge would be helpful.
Stop Using Your Cards
Start using the cash method to cover all your expenses. Using your credit card continuously is just getting deeper into a rabbit hole. This strategy is best served with creating a budget and knowing exactly what your expenses and budget for them accordingly.
Select a Debt Repayment Method
There are many methods of paying down debt, such as debt avalanche or debt snowball. The debt avalanche is an accelerated debt repayment process. You pay off in order of the highest interest to the lowest. Whereas, with debt snowball, you pay off your debt from the smallest balance to the largest one, regardless of the interest rate. In all honesty, there are numerous methods of paying down debt, as long as you pay down the debt, the method becomes an option of choice that best suits you.
Credit Card Balance Transfer
This is when you acquire a zero percent credit card and use that card to pay off a loan with interest. This is a great way to save money when it comes down to interest, but you have to be very careful on how to implement the strategy in a way that is beneficial. The best approach is to have enough funds to pay the whole credit card amount in full before interest is applied.
Refinance Your Debts for a Lower Interest Rate
If you cannot qualify for the zero balance transfer, this is the next best option. Negotiate for a better interest rate and terms. Be careful when it comes to refinancing, some experts advise not to take a HELOC loan and pay down credit cards with it, because if it leads to bankruptcy, you might lose your house to credit cards. Below are some points to negotiate over
- Interest rate
- Monthly payments amounts
This may be a hard concept to accept but if you do the math, it tends to showcase that debt is more expensive than the returns in a stock market. The average returns in a stock market are roughly 7% per year, whereas, credit card debt charges are roughly 14% to 25%. The best approach would be to stop all contributions to investment accounts and savings accounts (after funding your emergency fund) and then divert all your money into debt repayment.
Cook at Home
Eating out is a sure luxury when you are in debt, you cannot afford it. If you tally all the amounts spend on eating out, more than likely it is enough to cover your grocery bill. The best way to save money when it comes to grocery shopping is to set a budget and meal plan. This is usually an expensive bill if not well managed. It is always best to grocery shop with a list and meal prep for meals during the week.
Time to be creative and cancel any subscriptions such as cable, magazines, streaming services and divert that money toward your debt. It might be time to pick a hobby that is free or spend more time outdoors or a second job. Most people think that since the amounts are so small it will not make a dent in repayment, but the most favored philosophy is that a little goes far. Make your money work for you.
No Vacations or Upgrades
Going on vacation it’s pretty inciting, but that only translates to one being in debt longer. Better yet to use that money and pay down your debt and opt for something that is more reasonable such as a staycation.
Cutting down on your expenses and increasing debt repayment amounts is a fast track method of cutting down debt. Evaluate your current status and downsizing may be a necessity. Examples of downsizing include:
- eliminating a car,
- Renting out a bedroom to get extra cash – such as Airbnb
Cut Down Luxury Items
This is difficult for most people, even though you are in the mindset of aggressively paying off debt, many people want to still enjoy certain aspects of life. Below are some luxury aspects you can do at home
- Do your own nails
- Do your own hair
- Bring your own lunch
- Make your own coffee at home
- Eliminate activities that are not part of the needs
This can be a budget drainer, honestly, there is no fun in being so disciplined and not enjoying a quality life, but debt is a bigger problem and very costly. To enjoy the social aspect of life, it is best to carefully plan and budget carefully. There are many sites that offer discounts and many cities have lists for free activities. Whether its a date, brunch or a concert there are discount websites that offer extremely reduced prices. The best approach is to plan out your activities ahead of time and secure the best deal you can get.
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Make Extra Money
To expedite the process it is vital to increase your income and any small amount helps. There are certainly numerous ways to make additional money but the best place to start is what you are good at and or what can easily bring cash as fast as possible
It is much easier to sell unwanted items for the best prices than before. The best process to select the most profitable platform is to verify what cost is associated with selling your items. Garage sales are not the only way to sell items and sometimes you are leaving money on the table.
Take an inventory of your skills and certain them into making money. Research your desired area of tutoring, create an online portfolio, set your prices, choose methods of how you will tutor online or in-person and market yourself.
Join apps where you can specialize in completing certain tasks, you can easily customize your work schedules and you can do this when you have free time for instance,
- Task Rabbit
- Personal Shopping
- House Sitting
- Pet Walking
You can either be a weekend or after work driver and set your own hours. Work in areas that have a higher per hour rate like a more metropolitan place or during rush hours where the rates go up. Some companies include
Accountability and Support
Paying debt off is a hard task to do, especially when you are constantly living within parameters that do not allow you to fully enjoy life or living past the bare minimum – that is no easy task. Find like-minded people that will encourage and support you during your debt repayment process, as you can share resources, advice, and motivation.
In setting a goal, there should be smaller actionable tasks that should be completed first. Take the time to set up those tasks and set out your milestones as well. For instance
|Goal||identify your main budget goal e.g payoff credit cards|
|Task||breakdown your goal into more manageable tasks e.g first paying the high balance credit card|
|Milestone||your milestone can be after paying every $10,000 (then you can reward yourself)|
Reward Your Self
After paying off one card or reaching a certain number, reward yourself. You have certainly earned it and rewarding yourself can truly be a motivator. Set rewards that are truly fulfilling, such as a spa date, great dinner or a night at broadway – something that really means a lot to you, just to celebrate your achievements. You are doing great and keep going.
Top Question on How to Get Out of Debt
Get Out of Debt Living Paycheck to Paycheck?
The best way to get out of debt while living paycheck to paycheck is to start a strict budget that includes all your expenses to the penny. The reason being that we tend to waste money on little small buys which actually tend to add up. Below are some types of budgets to consider:
- Zero based budget
- Cash envelope budget
- Snowball debt payment method
- paying your debt every two weeks (however small the payment is – it helps in the long run)
- Calling your creditors if the t have a debt relief program (some companies may offer you to skip payments)
Who can help me Get out of Debt?
The first place to seek help is your creditor, verify if they have any financial programs that can help. The next best approach is to seek outside help, such a state or federal agencies that may help you in any financial assistance. The last step would be to contact debt management companies and verify the best solution to manage your debt the correct way.
KEY NOTE – before you contact debt management companies be cautious what their requirements are and if there are any related fees.
What Debt Should I Payoff First to Raise My Credit Score?
If you have different creditors, it is best to payoff the debt that has the lowest amount, mainly because you are able to pay it faster. Once a debt is paid off, it is reported as such on your credit bureau and this raises your credit score drastically.
Does Paying All Debt Increase Your Credit Score?
Paying all your debt does increase your credit score as the debt utilization score used to determine your credit rating decreases. The lower the score the better. This is the most crucial aspect to be note, your credit score may decrease instead of increasing if you payoff debt and close the account. this is usually applicable to credit cards
The best approach would be to payoff all the balance on the account BUT DO NOT CLOSE THE ACCOUNT. If you hardly use the credit card, the company might close it for you, it’s advisable monitor your card usage.
Why did My Credit Score Drop After Paying Debt?
Part of your credit score is calculated by having revolving debt. Once you payoff your debt and the the account closes, this may impact your credit score calculation. The best way is to maintain credit cards that you frequently use but just make sure you pay it off each month.
There are many ways to save money and get out of debt, but the first step towards financial freedom or growing wealth is to have a plan that can be broken down into manageable tasks. When it comes to debt repaying, the first step has to understand what you truly owe, learn about the extent and cost of your debt, create a great financial plan and finally getting a supporting system.
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