These days, most people are in a certain amount of debt. Whether it’s a large overdraft or a hefty credit card bill, the chances are that like the average person, you owe at least a couple of thousand pounds in unpaid debt.
Clearing away everything you owe is a really admirable goal, but it’s going to be tough, and often involve a fair bit of self sacrifice if everyone around you is happily living beyond their means.
Here’s five top tips to get you started on the task of banishing debt forever:
Paying off debt requires you to either increase your income or decrease your spending. Decide which of these routes is going to work best for you and formulate a plan. You need to make a big spreadsheet of everything going in and out of your account. Treat your personal finances like a business. Sometimes though, obsessively reducing spending on tiny items takes more time and energy than simply getting a better, or second job. Think about the big picture before you start monitoring how many coffees you buy each week!
Get Your Priorities Straight
There’s a definite snowball effect with debt. Once it starts to build up, the monthly payments can spiral out of control. Instead of treating debt as one lump sum, concentrate on each different area and work through them systematically. Pay off the high interest items first, and keep the lower ones until last: It’s better to transfer high interest store cards and short term loans to a credit card, as the interest is going to be considerably lower in the long term.
Many credit cards offer great deals on balance transfers. Don’t be afraid to swap your debt between several providers if it helps to lower your monthly outgoings. Joining a comparison site can often yield the best deals: Loans Direct email hundreds of the best offers on loans and credit cards if you’re interested in lowering a monthly repayment.
If you’re in a fairly sizeable amount of debt, a consolidation plan can wrap everything into a single loan, meaning you’ll pay less per month in interest. Once you’re able to save more each month, you can work on paying the loan off at a greater rate. If you owe a lot of money on a mortgage, you could consider downsizing your home. This will massively reduce your debt in the long term.
Live Within Your Means
It’s entirely possible to save a large portion of your income if you aren’t spending it on things you don’t really need. All those restaurant and pub visits add up to thousands over the course of a year. Make a resolution to take up some cost free activities, and curb all those expensive habits you’ve built up over the years.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Debt
Getting out of debt is a great idea, but don’t do it to the detriment of your quality of life. It’s OK to slow down repayments now and again, and every once in a while an unforeseen circumstance will crop up that requires you to put your repayments on hold. Just keep chipping away at the problem, and soon you’ll be enjoying a less stressful, debt free life.
Wendy Lin is a successful female entrepreneur with a growing family. Although she has worked hard to become as successful as she is, she always manages to put her family first.