Getting Yourself Out of Debt

Do you feel like your credit card debt is insurmountable? The good news is that, no matter how high the mountain appears, you can climb it and pull yourself out of the metaphorical hole you may find yourself in.

Here are some ways to tackle that debt and bring it down to size:

1. Only buy what you can afford. The best way to keep debt from becoming a problem is to avoid the problem altogether from this point forward. Rather than splurging on a fancy piece of electronic hardware, just wait and save up for it.

  • By staying within budget and paying off your bills every month, you don’t need to worry about debt piling up on top of you.
  • You can still get out of debt and feel the sweet relief of being debt free by changing your mindset from “having it now” to one of enjoying it even more when you have the money.

2. Pay off the lowest balance first. Financial advisor Suze Orman often advises people in debt to take care of the higher interest debts first. In general, this is a good way to go, however, if you have a credit card with a balance of only a couple hundred dollars, it would also be beneficial to knock that one off right out of the gate.

  • You can eliminate a whole payment, save on interest charges, and put that money towards another bill.

3. Prioritize bills by interest rate. In the long run, paying off the higher interest cards first will save you the most money. It’s usually the interest that keeps knocking you back. By taking out the higher interest cards, you’ll feel a greater sense of progress when paying your bills every month.

4. Consolidate. One of the more overwhelming aspects of being in credit card debt is constantly being reminded of it with so many bills from different cards. One way to fight back is to consolidate your debt. You can do this by either taking out a loan from a bank or transferring the balance to another card.

  • If you recently got a new credit card, you can transfer a portion of the balance to that. This will save you a bit of interest since most cards will put that balance under the introductory rate. Confirm that your rate will be lower before making the transfer.
  • If you take out a loan, you can pay off several of the cards and reduce the amount of mail you receive. It’s less daunting psychologically to receive one big bill as opposed to a bunch of tiny ones.

5. Convert to cash and debit only. One of the best ways to keep yourself in debt is to keep using your credit cards. They’re convenient and it’s easy to justify their occasional use by saying that it’s only a soda or a tank of gas.

  • Those tiny charges add up quick! A dollar here, a few more there, and you’ll negate the payments that you’re making in a very short amount of time.
  • Paying with cash will help you develop new spending habits. By the time you get your debts paid down, you’ll have disciplined yourself to the point where you no longer put yourself in that situation.

Debt is a problem that happens to nearly everyone at some point. Even wealthy people find themselves overextended by debt.

Even if you’re working on a shoestring budget, it’s possible to pull yourself out of debt. With discipline, focus, and hard work, you can find yourself relieved of the mounting pressures.

All good things,
John

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