Yes I said it! You have to face the storm and create a strategy on how to get out of the hole you may be in. Being in debt is never the end, but it is about managing your money better so you can clear them off slowly and enjoy more financial freedom. The first step is to acknowledge the debts and understand that they need to be paid.
Here are 4 tips on how to reduce your debts and make that move to a more financially free lifestyle.
1. Pay the minimum payment instead of nothing at all
When finances are mounting up all around you and you feel like you have nowhere to turn, depression and stress can set in. You may start to block out your problems instead of facing them head on, which in turn makes them worse. You can’t ignore your debts. They will grow until the point where you are facing bankruptcy and even more financial burdens.
The best thing to do when it comes to taking that step towards managing your finances is to start paying at least the minimum payment on bills that you haven’t been paying at all. This shows the company that you’re making an effort, even if it’s a small one. They are more likely to negotiate with you in future if necessary and it gives you peace of mind that you’re reducing your debt each month.
In addition, when you start making repayments you start to increase your credit. This will allow you to potentially borrow money in future because lenders will feel secure in the fact that you will be able to manage your repayments. For example, when applying for a credit card or an overdraft.
2. Increase your monthly payments
It sounds daunting but increasing your monthly payments on large debts that you have will allow you to pay them off quicker. It may not seem that way when you’re paying out what may be a large sum of money every month, but you’ll have more financial freedom once you’ve paid off the debt in a quicker time frame.
Increasing your monthly payments doesn’t have to be drastic. It could be a small increase if you’ve come into some extra money or are earning more from employment. Companies appreciate that you are showing that you want to pay off your debt just as much as they want their money, so it works well both ways.
3. Focus on your spending
Where can you cut back on spending and put more towards your debts? What subscriptions don’t you use regularly anymore? These are the simple questions you should ask yourself when considering where you can spend less and save more.
There’s been many times where I’ve had to cut back on things such as my meditation subscriptions or social activities because I want to dedicate my money to other things. If you have more wants than needs, then cutting back on the wants allows you to focus on the needs. Not only for reducing debt but for saving up money towards a mortgage or travel.
People really do underestimate the power of budgeting. You know exactly where your money is going and it allows you to analyse your finances from a different perspective.
Once you reached your budget in a certain area, it’s up to you to make a conscious decision on whether you want to go over the budget or stay within it. That’s where being realistic comes in. You have to set realistic budget for the different areas of your lifestyle in order to meet them. If you underestimate your financial commitments, then it will be difficult to reduce your debt and to know where your finances are actually going.
No debt problem is unsolvable, but you have to want to solve them. It all starts with you.
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T K Williams-Nelson – 4x author, designer and business owner.