1. UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU OWE – Many people live in denial by chunking statements in a drawer or never reviewing balances. First step in taking control is to get “in the know”! Write down your balances, interest rates and what you are paying. When it’s in front of you, YOU are now in the driver’s seat to begin making changes.
2. GET ORGANIZED – Having all your debts and payment dates laid out in a calendar is always a great idea to “SEE” your monthly obligations. Once you have this done you can begin taking a look at what time of the month you may be able to increase minimums and gain ground on a specific bill.
3. EXAMINE YOUR BILLS – It’s important to know where your money is going. Our debts sometime seem overwhelming and we don’t even look at our statements; but taking a closer look, you will better understand how much head way you are making to a specific debt and if changes need to be made, you will know where your efforts will be best spent.
4. CUT SPENDING – Look at your monthly bank statements and make an honest assessment of “needs” versus “wants”. Every coffee, trip to the fast food restaurant, etc. that you cut out is money you can redirect to your debt plan.
5. INCREASE YOUR INCOME – Well chances are you can’t just go to your employer and demand a raise; but there are many ways individuals are adding income to the household by working for themselves in some form or fashion. It doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars but just imagine if you had an extra $250 to $500 to apply directly to your debt? You could eliminate years! This is something I specialize in. Shout if you are interested in earning some extra income!
6. SELL ITEMS YOU DON’T NEED – Many of us are sitting on some clutter; some things we don’t need or haven’t used in years. So a New Year cleaning and sell those unwanted items. That money can go directly to paying down a credit card or any debt for that matter.
7. MAKE A GAME PLAN – Too often our biggest mistake is not having a written plan to achieve our goals. In finances, having a debt stacking plan, a budget, etc. is a must if you want to maximize your income and minimize the time frame in which you are in debt. This is another area I specialize in and offer complimentary Financial Needs Analysis for anyone interested in taking control of their financial lives.
8. LOWER YOUR INTEREST RATES – This may not be as easy as it sounds but one thing for sure, it never hurts to ask. If you have made on time minimum payments for any length of time, you will be surprised at the success you may have calling your credit card company and asking for a lower rate. There is always a card company looking to take your business from them and they know it. Make the call! Every percentage point you get reduced, your SAME payment will move you further down the path to debt freedom.
9. ELIMINATE WHAT YOU CAN – Sometimes you may discover you are paying annual fees or expenses just to own an account. Reach out and ask to have those fees waved or explore other options. It doesn’t make sense to pay someone to be their customer!
10. MAKE A FUN, FREE TO-DO LIST – Focusing on debt can at times seem very stressful, especially in the beginning. Getting out and doing things you enjoy and that help you relax are important. Put together a list of things that are enjoyable yet costs you nothing but a little time. Going on a hike, visiting a local museum (often no costs), etc. are but a few things you can do to help reduce stress while you reduce debt.
Getting out of debt is one of the most freeing things anyone can do for themselves! It is my passion helping individuals and families to do this. If you would like some assistance in eliminating debt or you would possibly be interested in earning some extra income, I can help with both! GOOD LUCK and CONQUER THAT DEBT!