What you do right this minute will always affect your tomorrow, so whenever you do something drastic like cutting spending and increasing savings, don’t always expect to see results in the next few months or even a year. So whenever you make a decision to improve your financial situation, don’t give up after a few weeks, because you cannot see the result, as is the case with everything in life, be patient and let compound interest work on you money, that will be used to reduce your debt burden. In the following article, Catherine Durkin Robinson shows how different methods can be used to reduce a person’s debt burden
Here are some tips that will help you get rid of debt and move toward financial freedom.
- Stop adding to your debt. Avoid temptation by avoiding places where you might buy on impulse. Leave credit cards at home and resist shopping online. Take a break from spending.
- Cancel your credit cards. Cut them up and throw them away. If you must keep one for emergency purposes, put it away in a safe place. Do not carry it with you.
- Adjust your thinking. Like anything, you must have the right frame of mind to get out of debt. If you think you can do it, you will. The opposite is true as well.
- Stop spending so much. When shopping for groceries, replace name brands with generics to save some cash. Use coupons, and take advantage of sales to save money. Use utilities wisely to save on water, electricity and gas.
- Live a frugal life; it’s in style now after all. With a sluggish economy taking its toll on most middle-class families, it’s become trendy to save money. Take advantage of it.
- Look for ways to add to your income. The more money you bring home, the more you can devote to lowering your debt. Pick up tasks with higher commission, look into part-time gigs, volunteer for overtime every once in a while or work toward that lucrative bonus.
- Save for an emergency. You should always pay yourself first before you pay anyone else. Start with saving at least 5% of your income and move up to 10% if possible. You should work toward the goal of having at least six months’ worth of expenses set aside in case of health problems or job loss.
- Pay bills on time. You will get them paid off sooner, and you won’t have to waste money on late fees and other silly charges. So get organized. Avoid ATM fees because you can withdraw money at the grocery store without charges. Set up a payment schedule so interest rates don’t go up due to late payments.
- Transfer balances from high interest credit cards to lower or zero charges. Contact each credit card company, and request lower interest rates. If you can, consolidate all your charge cards into one, and make those payments count.
- Make a budget and stick to it. Determine how much money is coming in and going out each month. If you have a family, get them in on the action. After you’ve determined how you want to live, and where you want to spend your money, don’t deviate from the plan. Revisit it every few months to make sure it’s current with your needs.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle whatever you can. Don’t buy garbage bags. Instead, use the grocery bags to line garbage cans around the house. Don’t waste garbage space or electricity by throwing away food scraps or throwing them down the disposal. Make a compost heap!
- Share what you’re doing with others. Make sure your family and closest friends are aware of what you’re doing because their support is important. They might even copy your new and improved habits.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. If you keep company with folks who keep spending, then it will be that much more difficult to stop spending and, start living within your means. If this means giving up people who have become a negative influence, then so be it.
- Don’t pay for something, if it’s available for free. Skip the driving if you can walk, ride your bike, or take advantage of public transportation. This will save you money on gas, insurance, and upkeep. And if you’re walking or riding your bike, you don’t need to spend money on a gym membership. Wash your own clothes instead of sending them to the dry cleaners.
- Always pay more than the minimum payment. If you only pay minimum payments, you won’t pay off your credit cards for an average of fifteen years.
- Accept help when loved ones offer it. Struggling with debt can be frustrating and lonely and if you’re doing it alone, it could feel even worse. If you have a family member or friend who offers support, temporary financial assistance, or just a hand to hold – accept it. For example, perhaps your mom offers to babysit. You can save money on daycare costs, and apply that saved money toward driving down your debt. This can only help you. If your in-laws want to loan you some money at a low interest rate, then why not take the help?
These are all ways you can drive down your debt, and start living a more financially sound life. Start small, and only apply two or three of these rules to your everyday life. Then move on to tackle the whole list. Your money management will only improve as you practice more and more each day.