Debt is a major problem for millions of people. It comes in many forms, including credit card debt, medical debt, student loan debt, and much more. When you have too much debt, it can feel like you have no way out. But there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your debt and get on the road to financial freedom.
Money is tight. The economy is slow. The job market is uncertain. And the bills are piling up.
Your consumer debt is causing you a lot of stress. You want to get it under control, but you don’t know where to begin. You don’t have a lot of money to pay toward your debt, and you don’t want to get further behind. The good news is that you don’t have to feel that way.
Debt. It’s a four-letter word that strikes fear into the hearts of many. For some, it’s the result of years of financial mismanagement and unwise decisions. Others are struggling to make ends meet as a result of unforeseen circumstances, such as medical emergencies.
Let’s face it, the economy isn’t as robust as it could be, and as a result, more and more individuals are finding themselves in debt. The sad thing is that, most likely, none of this debt is your fault. After all, you need a place to live and food to eat, but circumstances beyond your control have now left you owing more money than you can payback. Yet, consumer debt reduction may be the silver lining you’ve been looking for.
Of course, there is more than one way to reduce your debt. Which one you choose will depend on your personality, as well as your current situation. That being said, here are some things you can do–whichever method you decide to use–to get yourself off to a strong start.
1. Know where you are at all times. A gut check is in order. All your loans, interest rates, home expenses, and any other money spent should be written down. Be particular, and keep track of every penny. Make a note of all your income, as well as any liquid assets you may have that you might use to pay down your debt.
2. Establish your priorities. You must have a roof over your head, running water, and food to survive, thus these should be your top priorities. For many folks, utilities and medication will be near the top of the list. The next item is a vehicle, which is particularly important if you live in the country or have no other means of getting to work.
Does this imply that you should give up all your “treats” in life? Not, but you must ensure that the necessities are met first. After that, you can start deciding what matters the most. Because we’re talking about lowering consumer debt, it’s only natural that the products that aren’t the first to go. Do you need the entire satellite television package, or could you live without it for a few months if it meant you could pay off your debt?
3. Reduce the amount of debt you have. Yes, each payment will go toward paying down your debt, but we’re talking about paying it off all at once. You can do this by speaking with each of your creditors. They might be able to waive late fees, reduce interest rates, or cut other unreasonable penalties. If they refuse to do so, you can always take out a debt consolidation loan, which will achieve the same result.
4. Increase your payment amount. The more you can contribute to your debt repayment, the faster it will be paid off. This may seem self-evident, but it is crucial since it eliminates the effect of compound interest. Paying double the smallest payment, depending on how much you owe and the current interest rate, might help you pay off your debt eight times faster! How’s that for action on consumer debt reduction?