Six Habits To Help You Overcome Debt
If only getting out of debt was as quick and easy as getting into debt. Unfortunately, working your way out of debt requires patience, determination, and some hard work. The good news is that as you make progress on this journey, you may learn a lot of tricks that improve your financial situation above and beyond getting rid of your debt.
1. Write Down Your Debts
The first step is really understanding your debt. You need to know how much you owe, how long it will take you to pay off those debts by making the minimum payments, and how much interest you’re paying on those debts. Some experts recommend starting with your smallest amount, paying that off, and then rolling that payment amount into the next smallest loan, and so on. This “snowball” method allows you to see your progress and recognize consistent progress.
2. Pay More than the Minimum
It isn’t unusual for households to spend more than they make during a month. This leads to a lot of credit card debt. Many Americans also carry car loans, mortgage debts, and student loans. Unfortunately, interest on loans significantly increases the payback amounts needed to pay off those loans. You can pay off loans faster and for less money when you increase the amount you pay each month. Some credit card companies show how this works on your monthly statement.
3. Stop Adding New Debt
You won’t make progress decreasing your combined loan amounts unless you stop buying things on credit. There are several strategies you can use to avoid using your credit cards. You may even need to do something as drastic as putting a freeze on your credit cards. Whatever it takes, you must lower the amount you’re spending and completely stop using credit.
4. Learn to Shop Smart and Live Frugally
Committing to a debt-free lifestyle may require you to make serious changes. Fortunately, there are several ways you can reduce costs each month:
- Use coupons to buy what you’re already buying.
- Cut out subscriptions to television, magazines, gym memberships, online websites, streaming services, and anything else that you don’t need.
- Learn to find what you need at consignment shops and thrift stores. You can often get pre-used clothing and other items that are in good shape. It’s also possible to do this kind of shopping online.
- Prepare your own meals, treats, and beverages. When you add up a daily coffee and a quick take-out lunch, you’ll find that you could easily make a dent in one of your debts with the accumulated savings.
- Make a weekly menu and a shopping list. When you head to the grocery store, stick to the items on your list and avoid any impulse buying.
- Review your recreational activities. There are some hobbies and entertainment options that are more expensive than others. It may be necessary for you to put some of those activities on hold until you’re in a better financial situation.
Your ability to live within a tight budget is a great way to reduce debt and make it possible to put money into savings as you reduce your loan amounts. Eventually, you’ll be ready to add some of your preferred activities into your budget.
5. Look for Work on the Side
While you continue to maintain your existing employment, look for things you can do on the side to earn some money. Consider your talents and interests and then look for ways to make money doing those things. Just decide now that the money you make on your side hustle will go directly to paying off debts.
6. Monitor Your Credit Score
It’s a wonderful feeling to watch as your debt amount gets lower. Reinforce these feelings of success by watching your credit score get higher. Use a free credit score provider to check up on your credit status. Reinforce your habit of paying less or not paying at all when you make purchases.
Using tips from experts for finding ways to put more money toward your debts, reducing the amount of money you spend each month, and obtaining lower interest rates can help you make steady progress in reducing your debts. As you stick to these good habits, you may find that you have some extra room in your budget for investing and saving. Eventually, interest should be working for you instead of against you.