Debt takes the form of anything from an annoyance to a burden as heavy as a herd of elephants. Regardless of how much you owe, however, you are not trapped. Check out the following five tips on how you can steadily decrease your debt and get help with paying those burdening bills.
1. Understand Your Debt
Organize your bills. How much do you owe to each creditor, and what is the interest rate of each? What is the minimum monthly payment for each? Once you have a grasp of exactly where your debt lies, you are in a better position to make smart and effective decisions about how you are going to go about paying it off.
2. Prioritize Your Bills
It is best to focus on paying off one debt at a time. You might choose to eliminate the bill with the lowest payoff first. It will give you a sense of satisfaction and progress. Or, if you first focus on the bill with the largest payoff, you will feel the relief of getting rid of the heaviest load first. It is also reasonable to begin with the bill that has the highest interest rate. Bills that you have not chosen to take care of first will receive the minimum payments.
However you choose to go about it, formulating a strategy and sticking to it will make your journey quicker and less stressful.
3. Make a Budget
Go beyond understanding your debt to understanding your entire financial picture. Keep track of your spending, every cent, for at least a month. You might balk at the tediousness, but there are free apps available for your smart phone to take away at least a little of the dullness.
When you see money going toward things you do not really need, cut your spending in those areas so that the money saved can go toward paying off your debt. The most important thing to keep in mind about your budget is making it possible to adhere to. Setting unrealistic limits for will only cause discouragement.
4. Earn More Money
Is there any way you can increase your income? This doesn''t mean you have to go out and get a second or a third job. Think of anything that might get you a few extra dollars to help you manage your debt. Can you sell some of the clutter in the garage? Do you have a skill you can use to help out neighbors that they would be willing to pay you for? Finding small ways to increase your income can really help in tackling those bills.
5. Seek Help for Your Debt
You are not alone in your fight to fend off debt. If necessary, take advantage of programs designed to help people with their bills. Much debt in the United States is the result of unpaid bills, so if you require bill help, there are plenty of companies willing to help you with successfully paying your bills and easing your debt. Take the time to investigate and find out what resources are available to help people in your specific situation.
Ditching the debt and getting a handle on your finances is difficult under any circumstances. If you take the right approach, however, it will ease the burden and get you to your goal so much faster.
Joy Nelson is a freelance writer in the Seattle, WA area. She wants to stay on top of her finances and help others to do the same.