When it comes to setting new world records, the average personal debt of Americans is far from a proud moment for our country. With an average delinquency rate of 4.8%, it’s time to reexamine how we look at borrowing and spending.
For individual borrowers, a mountain of debt can seem to be an unconquerable foe. Many today believe that debt is as inevitable as death and taxes, but it doesn’t have to be this way!
Here are a few practical tips to help you get out of debt and live a life of financial freedom.
A Disciplined Budget
Budgeting may sound about as fun as having a root canal while your least interesting professor from school reads the phone book to you. But once you see the results it can produce in your life, you’ll understand why it’s so important! And with the various budget software tools and apps available today, it can be quick and painless too!
The basic principle is simple. In order to gain control over your money, you first need to know where it’s going. It may be best to start by looking at where your paycheck actually went for the past few months, and then make adjustments from there.
If you want to get out of debt, you have to be paying more toward your current debts than interest, fees, and spending are adding to them. Stop using credit to pay for day to day purchases and switch to a debit card or cash. And make sure you are paying more than the minimums on your bills, or they’ll most likely continue to go up.
Get Control of Hidden Fees and Unnecessary Expenses
When you’re doing your budget, it’s important to read through each of your bills to see what exactly you’re paying for. Here are a few ways to get your money under control by avoiding fees when possible.
- If you’re paying NSF fees to your bank, time to keep closer track of your accounts.
- Avoid late fees by ensuring you pay every bill on time, every month.
- You may be shocked at the amount of interest you’re paying on credit cards. See if you can negotiate your rate down or transfer your balance to a lower fee card.
- Paying for premium cable channels you don’t really need? Call your provider and drop them. Or consider cutting the cord entirely.
- Have extra subscriptions you don’t really need or use? Call and cancel. It’s a simple way to free up funds.
- Find that you’re spending a fortune at restaurants and drive thrus? Maybe it’s time to start making dinner at home or packing lunch at work.
Consider Consolidation to Free Up Cash Flow
It’s tough to pay off debt when you have no disposable income. Those who find themselves stuck with high interest debts may want to consider a different route.
Consolidation loans have a few key advantages. Firstly, they allow you to streamline multiple loans into one payment. Additionally, consolidation loans offer lower interest rates than some standalone debts, which could save you big money in the long run. Consider rolling all of your credit cards or other debts into one lower rate loan, and you’re on your way to paying them off. Remember to pay responsibly and on time each month to avoid fees and rising interest rates.