Do you have bills or loans to pay off? You’re hardly alone: 80% of American adults have debt. Stressing out about money or a lack of it can bring on depression, anxiety, and poor physical health.
But before you lose sleep over it, understand that it is possible to reduce your debt. It does require commitment, but it can be done. Here are ten tips for managing debt that can help you regain control of your finances.
1. List All of Your Debts
Make a list of everything you need to pay each month, including your mobile phone plan and utility bills. Seeing everything you own on a monthly basis will make you more aware of where you can cut spending here and there to put more money towards paying up debt.
2. Track Your Due Dates
Keep track of when each bill is due, and always pay it on time to avoid getting hit with a late fee, which will compound your debt. Some companies allow you to request a different due date for your bill. So if you find you have more money during a particular time of the month to pay your bills, check to see if you can move due dates to that time frame.
3. Pay More Than the Minimum Monthly Amount Due
Always pay the minimum amount due each month on each bill, or you may be charged a late fee. Whenever possible, try to pay more than the minimum amount. Depending on how much you owe, paying only the minimum each month can take a long time to pay down debt.
For example, let’s say you have $2,000 worth of credit card debt with an 18% annual rate. If the minimum payment due is $10 per month, it will take you 30 years to pay the debt off because of the compounding interest.
The minimum monthly amount due is a sneaky trick that credit card companies use to keep making money. Paying more than the minimum can help you beat them at their game and reduce your total debt.
4. Focus on Paying Off One Debt at a Time
You can protect your credit standing and make progress by focusing on making big payments towards one debt and settling it before placing more funds towards the next. In the meantime, continue to make the minimum payments or more on your other bills until the first debt is completely repaid.
Preferably, you want to start by paying off the loan that has the highest interest rate. This will help prevent more debt from piling up over time.
5. Get a Side Gig
If you’re struggling to pay down debt and buy living necessities on your current salary, look into getting a part-time job or a freelance gig. There are many legitimate work-from-home opportunities that can enable you to make a few extra bucks per week to put towards paying your bills.
You can also hold a yard sale or sell unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay.
6. Transfer Your Credit Card Balance to Another Card With Lower Interest
Another debt paying strategy is to transfer a credit card balance with a high interest rate to another that has a lower one. While this won’t eliminate that pesky interest entirely, it does mean you’re paying off less of it over time. You may find this tactic makes it easier to control your credit card debt each month.
7. Consolidate the Debt
Sometimes securing a personal loan or another method of consolidating your debt is the best way to repay everything that you owe. Consolidating the debt means you have one bill to pay each month and it may reduce your credit card debt by eliminating compounding interest.
You can borrow the money from your bank, a local credit union, or by using a debt consolidation company. Be sure to read the fine print and know the terms of the debt consolidation before working with a debt repayment company.
8. Curb Your Spending
Are there items you buy on a regular basis that you can cut out, at least temporarily, to save money towards paying off debt? A daily $5 latte that you enjoy Monday through Friday equals $25 a week, or about $100 per month. This is money that you can use towards paying down a debt.
Getting rid of debt may also mean having to give up take out food and other small luxuries for a while. However, the money you save is better served eliminating debt and protecting your credit.
9. Dip Into a Savings or Retirement Fund
Serious debt can drive you to take drastic measures. Before you do anything rash such as listing your home with a real estate company that specializes in foreclosures in Boise, consider withdrawing from your emergency savings fund.
And although it’s not recommended because you can be hit with fees before age 59 1/2, a retirement fund such as a 401K plan can be used to pay off a debt. You can also consider cashing in part of an insurance policy to get debt off your back.
10. Shop Around for More Affordable Insurance Policies
Auto and home insurance can be expensive and their service charges can end up costing you more if you pay your bill monthly. Shop around for a better deal on car and home insurance. In some cases purchasing both from the same insurance provider can qualify you for a package discount.
Paying the entire policy in full instead of breaking it out into monthly payments can help you avoid paying extra money in service fees.
Follow These Tips For Managing Debt
Managing debt doesn’t have to be stressful. By following our above tips you can get ahead of your loans and bills and never have to worry about repaying debt again.
Here at Actwitty we love helping our readers enjoy life by providing them with witty tips on family, food, technology, and more. Check out our latest finance posts to learn more about managing debt and making the most of your money.