But getting out of debt doesn’t need to be stressful. With the right practices in place, you can find yourself making your way out of your hole of debt to once again be financially free. If you are struggling to pay off bank loans, credit card bills, or you just have payments that are long overdue, these tips can help you get out of debt without the stress.
Secret #1: Focus On One Debt
When you have a number of different debts, paying a little here and a little there probably isn’t making the dents that you want. Instead of spreading the cash you have for payments among all your debts, focus instead on getting rid of one completely.
How you decide to select a debt to pay off first is up to you. You could pick the debt with the highest interest rate or you could select one that is close to being completely eliminated. Whichever debt you choose, focus all your repayment efforts in one direction until that debt is gone.
When you spread your payments across a number of credit cards, loans, or repayment plans, you’re not really making sizeable dents. A few hundred here and a few hundred there can be insignificant when the debt is too large. But when you can pay a sizeable amount to one debt, you could knock out a large chunk.
Secret #2: Budget, Budget, Budget
If you are trapped in debt, it probably means that you weren’t living within your means. We hear time and time again, “don’t spend money that you don’t have.” And while it can grow tiring to hear this from our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, and whoever else likes to throw wisdom our way, they have a point.
When you are constantly spending money that you do not have, you are making it more and more difficult to find your way out of your debt hole, even if you are making regular payments. While credit cards or loans can be great for in between paychecks, or to make a large purchase once in a while, you shouldn’t be putting anything on your card you don’t know you can pay off within the next cycle.
If you’re serious about getting out of debt, create a strict budget and stick to it. Find which areas you’re spending the most money and try to cut back. If you discover you are spending hundreds of dollars every month eating out or buying drinks, spend a month where you do not spend money outside your house at all.
Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, it just means you need to be smart about your money. Become a fan of pre-gaming the bar or opt for a drink that is on special instead of indulging in the fruit concoctions your friends are purchasing. Invite your friends over for a dinner at your house instead of going out to eat to save money. If you want to get out of debt, you are going to need to make some sacrifices.
Secret #3: Use ALL Extra Cash for Debt Repayment
Consider all the times during the year that you may receive some unexpected cash. A $20 bill from your parents at your birthday or a large tax return once a year are all included in this unexpected bit of money. While it may be tempting to splurge on something nice with this money, splurging on yourself is what got you into this debt mess and you are going to need to make some changes if you want to get out.
Every bit of extra money that you come across should go to paying off some of your debt, no matter how small that sum may seem. Whether you’ve just sold some items around your home, you’ve picked up a second job, or your really good at finding money in the street somehow, all supplemental cash should be used on a credit card payment or loan.
A simple way to begin saving more cash is to create a change jar. We rarely notice how much our change can actually be worth, so we let it fall to the bottom of purses, get lodged in between couch cushions, or ignored when dropped at a check out counter. Rather than letting your coins fall into oblivion, create a jar to store all the loose change you have. Once a year or every few months, depending on how quickly your jar fills, count it up and use that money to pay off part of your debt.
When you add up all the cash you have gathered or cash from holiday presents from your family, it can actually make a huge difference in the debt that you’ve accumulated. And since you never expected to have the cash in the first place, you won’t miss it when it is gone.
Debt can feel debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you create a smart strategy that helps you build the steps to come out of your debt-hole, you can feel like progress is being made. As you begin to make consistent payments to your debts, you will start to see the light (which is debt-free living).
Use these three secrets to begin getting out of debt without needing to deal with all the stress. With a strong and strict budget in place, a focus on which debts need to be paid of first, and all your extra cash going towards getting out of debt, you can begin seeing money in your savings in no time.