Debt – whether in the form of credit card balances, student loans or other loans – can have a huge impact on your quality of life. It may also negatively affect your ability to do the things you want, such as getting married or buying a home.
Though it may seem overwhelming, it is possible to get out of debt – and stay out. Here are some tips for getting out of debt.
Stop Accruing New Debt
The first thing you need to do if you’re serious about getting out of debt is to stop using credit cards. Take them out of your wallet, cut them up or freeze them in a block of ice. Do whatever you have to do overcome the temptation to ‘charge it.’
Tip: Designate one credit card for emergencies; but don’t carry it with you
Determine Where You Stand
Review every credit card and loan statement and determine how long it will take you to get out of debt paying what you are now.
Tip: Always review statements carefully to ensure payments are credited accurately and to monitor any interest rate changes.
Adjust Your Budget
Once you know exactly where your money is going, adjust your budget so you can start paying more than the minimum payments on your credit cards each month. If you’re coming up with a deficit, choose items to cut from your budget or consider getting a side job for extra income.
Tip: Use any unexpected income – like a work bonus, tax refund, or cash gifts – to pay down debt.
Ask for Help
You don’t have to figure it out on your own. Credit counseling from a nonprofit agency such as Take Charge America can help you learn exactly where you stand financially and the options available for getting out of debt.
Tip: Credit counseling helps you see your complete financial picture and formulate a plan of action for getting out of debt.