Take the Leap and Get Out of Debt

July 30, 2013

It’s hard to find someone these days that isn’t up to their eyeballs in debt. We live in a paperless world now, spending money that we don’t have and living on borrowed funds.

That isn’t to say that the credit system our world is built around isn’t necessary or beneficial. Without loans, big-ticket items like cars or houses would be all but impossible for the average person to buy. And without emergency lending services like www.wonga.com, many would be left out in the cold during hard times. But if you’re like most people, your goal is to find yourself debt free. If you’re ready to live your life in the black again, take a few things to heart.

Like most problems, the first step is admitting you have one. Instead of sweeping your credit card bills under the rug, take note of what you really owe. This isn’t just about credit cards, either. Remember any loans you took out for your house, your car, your schooling. Make a list with the total amount of each loan owed so you can easily set yourself up on a payment plan.

Create a plan of attack. Decide which loans you want to pay off first, either on the balance or the interest rate. Paying it back according to highest interest rate will save you money, however it can be much more satisfying to pay off the lower balances first and see your bill at that magic zero. Just don’t try to pay them off all at once, because you’re setting yourself up for failure. Choose one to donate the majority of your funds to and pay the minimum balances on the rest.

Once you’ve chosen which bills to pay first, try to make your payments early in the billing cycle to avoid accruing more interest. If you can’t afford to do so, try paying multiple small payments (but make sure the company you’re paying with doesn’t penalize you for doing so). Make sure you stick with your budget, too. Your minimum payments will decrease the more you pay off, but if you stick to what you can pay, you’ll see your debt decrease dramatically.

If you’re so far in over your head that a strict budget and frugal spending habits won’t help you, seek advice from a professional. They may be able to negotiate the interest rates on your loans, set up more reasonable payments by speaking to the companies about payment plans, or if things get desperate, they may be able to help you file for bankruptcy.

Others have found more creative ways to get out of debt, or to supplement their income. You can earn a decent amount of money by doing things like donating plasma, selling off valuables or even donating soda cans. These methods obviously require some extra effort, and a willingness to get down and dirty in some cases.