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The following is a guest post by Richard Jacobs. Enjoy!
If you are looking for ways to help you get rid of debt, you will come across many tips, but these 8 tips will help you get rid of your debt for good. The one thing you need to keep in mind is to make sure you follow these tips, and stick to them to make them work for you.
Get rid of your credit cards –
In today’’s world, people have started depending on credit cards a lot. If you are in a habit of swiping your credit card whenever you go to the market or to dine out, get rid of the habit. The best way to do this is to lock your credit cards at home to avoid using them at all. However, keep in mind that you do not close the accounts as it will result in a reduced credit score.
Stop adding more debt –
Some people think that they can pay off old loans by taking on new loans, but that is not the right thing to do. Piling on debts will not help you get rid of your financial problems, but will keep you stuck in your debts for longer.
Change your lifestyle and attitude –
Your attitude plays a very important role when it comes to paying back loans. If you have a “can-do attitude”, you will succeed in your efforts. You will also need to make changes to your lifestyle, such as by cutting down on your spending.
Small things can bring a lot of difference, such as taking the bus to your job instead of driving. When buying groceries or other essentials for your house, look out for sales, discounts, and offers to use and save money. Stick to this lifestyle for a few months and you will be surprised with the amount you can save this way.
Look for ways to improve your earnings –
Always lookout for ways to help you make more money. Work hard at your day job, as you might be rewarded by your employer in the form of bonuses or a raise. Also look for opportunities that can give you some extra cash, like a part-time sales job or a freelance work-from-home option.
Plan your budget and stick to it –
Make an estimate of your monthly earnings and expenses and then decide on how you will spend the available cash. Keep a portion of this income to pay off your debts.
Pay more than the minimum payment toward your debt –
Many people tend to pay only the minimum amount towards their credit card bills, mortgages, and other loans. If you have extra money at hand, pay a little extra with every payment toward your debt.
Get help from your loved ones –
Your partner and family can help you get out of your debts. Discuss your financial problems with them, and get all the help you can to get out of your financial crisis.
Keep yourself busy –
Keep your self busy in your work, and you will not end up wasting time at the bar or at the mall, spending the money you have at hand.
Remember, getting out of debt can take some time, especially if the loan amount is high, but if you stick to the tips mentioned above, you will rid yourself of your financial miseries. Small sacrifices made today will help you go a long way.
How about you all? What has been the biggest contributor to you significantly reducing or eliminating your debt balances?
Have you tried any methods of debt reduction that have NOT worked at all?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.
- @ Getting rid of your credit cards –
- I definitely agree with Richard that cutting down credit card usage/spending is essential if you are looking to banish your credit card or other debt completely. If you get behind on credit card payments, the interest rates can rack up to above 20% (accruing daily), which is “bad-news bears” for just about anyone!
- Along the same lines as locking the credit cards up somewhere at home, another trick I’ve heard that is effective is actually freezing your credit cards in a Tupperware container filled with water/ice in your freezer. This way, you have to physically thaw them out to use them. I’ve heard the physical act of doing this thawing is a great deterrent to using the cards again.
- Locking or freezing up your credit cards should only be used as a last resort for people who absolutely do not have the control to stop credit card spending. Instead, I have faith that the majority of people with credit card debt do possess the control to simply carry the credit card in your wallet, but to only use it for emergencies. However, you know yourself better than I do, so make the decision based on what will work for you!
- @ Stop adding more debt (i.e. – don’t bother with debt consolidation loans) –
- The topic of debt consolidation is a truly fascinating one!
- On one hand, it sounds like a great idea because you can combine many smaller balance loans for credit cards, etc in to one and pay just one lump sum each month.
- However, as I discussed in Part 1 of my helping a friend get out of debt series, I personally do not think that debt consolidation loans and debt counseling is worth the time and effort unless your financial situation is such that a) you are on the verge of bankruptcy or b) making your minimum payments results in you not being able to feed yourself or your family.
- Furthermore, I think that the majority of the time, people need more than debt consolidation to truly “win” against debt; they mainly need to change their habits and behaviors in regards to their finances/spending.
- @ Planning your budget –
- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – budgets (in the simplistic sense) do not work.
- I personally do not believe that people should plan their finances by laying out a budget and then “seeing what’s leftover” at the end of the month to pay their debts and save for retirement.
- Instead, the better option is to 1) track your spending to determine your spending patterns and monetary requirements, 2) decide at the beginning of the month how you will allocate funds to your different needs, and then 3) actually transfer the money or pay your debt accounts at the beginning of the month before you have time to spend the money.
- @ Paying more than the minimum debt payment –
- I absolutely agree with this piece of advice! In fact, I’ll venture a guess and say that if you have a sizable amount of consumer debt, you will actually NEVER 100% pay it off if you only pay the minimum required payment!
- However, I would advise everyone to consider the account hierarchy prior to paying too much on their debt accounts (i.e. make sure you have an adequate emergency fund first).
- @ Getting help from your loved ones –
- In my mind, getting advice from a loved one is great, fine, and excellent!
- However, actually getting money from a loved one is an entirely different story.
- Too many times, I’ve heard and seen friends or family members “loan” each other money in an unofficial capacity. In other words, there was no legal loan agreement involved. This is simply foolish because the majority of these “loans” are never paid back.
- If you want to help out a friend or family member, GREAT! However, it would most likely be better to simply make the “loan” a gift and not have any need to get the money back.
- If you want to actually loan them the money with the intention that it will be repaid, I would recommend hiring a lawyer to draw up a loan agreement.
- @ Keeping yourself busy –
- I agree with this bit of advice, with one caveat.
- I agree because I’ve found that in my life, some of the times when I have saved the most money has been when I wasn’t doing much else besides work or school.
- However, one caveat/thing to watch out for is that when you are really busy, you might be tempted to go out to eat a lot to save time on cooking. Spending from this can add up very quickly, so just remember to take 30 minutes to cook or prepare your meals yourself, and you’ll be set up for success!
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/digiart2001/2214844805/sizes/l/in/photostream/