U.S. households owe more than $11 trillion in debt in 2014, according to the American Household Credit Card Debt Statistic. In breaking it down, Americans owe more than $1 trillion in student loans, $850 billion in credit card debt, and more than $8 trillion in mortgage payments. Living with debt can be stressful, and it can take a toll on your health and relationships. And getting out of debt and staying out of debt is not an easy thing to do. Below are tips to help you start paying off debt so you can reduce the stress of being in debt and put yourself in a better financial position this year.
1. Adjust your attitude toward spending.
The only way to take control of your financial life is to fix the root problem, which is to change your spending habit and to stop living beyond your means. If you change this spending behavior, you’ll live without financial stress, and you will have a vastly richer life. Once you get real about your debt, then you need to figure out how much debt you really have.
2. Make a monthly budget.
Create a realistic monthly budget for your expenses. List all monthly bills and necessities, and make sure they are covered by your monthly income. Allow only the money remaining after the bills are paid to be spent elsewhere. Stay within your budget guidelines.
3. Use a cash only method.
Learn to use cash instead of credit cards. From each paycheck, take out cash and place it in envelopes specifically listed as mortgage, utilities, grocery, etc. Have one primary credit card and use it only for emergencies or major necessities. Put your credit card in a safe place, not available for everyday use.
4. Cut down extra expenses.
Prioritize which expenses are most important to you to keep, then decide what you can get rid of such as cable or additions on your cell phone.
5. Reach out to creditors.
Contact your creditors and try to work out repayment plans and to bring down high interest rates. Many creditors are willing to work with you in a manner that will help them get their money without having to resort to debt collectors.
6. Bring in extra money.
Look for jobs to earn money to pay down your debt. This may be watching children, delivering newspapers,or cleaning houses. Also look into selling your assets. Gather items throughout your house, determine what you can live without, and then hold a yard sale.
7. Chip away at the debt.
Rank your debt from highest to lowest interest rate. Pay off the highest interest rate credit card first. Any extra money you have, use it toward paying off debt until it’s gone.
8. Trim unnecessary spending.
Cut down on your discretionary expenses. This includes dining out, buying expensive new clothes, taking pricey vacations, and other unnecessary expenditures.
9. Become a savvy shopper.
Look for deals, bargains, and savings. You can save a lot of money if you take the time to shop around. But make sure only to buy things that you need and not just because it’s on sale.
10. Get Organized.
Getting your documents in order will help you pay down your debt. If the documents are all over the house in piles, you won’t even know what debt you have. Use a file folder system and tabs. Do this with your spouse so you both understand the system.
What tips have helped you get out of debt?
And below are more articles you might like to read.