Drowning in Debt? Five Ways to Become Debt Free
Today’s society is based on debt, but there are ways to live a debt-free life. For example, studies show that consumers spend over 30 percent more when they have credit cards, but you can escape the debt squeeze with the following these budgeting and saving tips.
Negotiate with Creditors
No debt is unmanageable, but long-term debts may require negotiations with creditors or lenders. For example, you may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. If you have student loans, there are programs and resources that can help you lower your monthly payment. Many creditors are willing to work with you—all you need to do is ask.
Pay off Debts When Possible
Excess or discretionary income should be diverted toward paying off debts. The key is to pay off a large amount of debt in a short time to avoid interest charges and penalties. Experts suggest spending at least 15 percent of your paychecks on debt. Consider increasing your income by taking on a freelance or part-time work, to meet debt obligations, and use any savings or tax refunds to settle what you owe.
Spending more money than you make will always get you into trouble. You can trim expenses by cutting the cable or bundling services to consolidate more of your monthly bills. Controlling your spending not only conserves money, but it also allows you to pay off creditors more quickly.
Tackle Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt can be managed regardless of the balance owed. First, research the time span of each delinquent account to see if you could forgo certain debt obligations under local laws. Perhaps pay less attention to older delinquent accounts and focus on current accounts with high balances. Pay off more than the minimum balance per month to get rid of lingering balances.
Don’t Use Credit
This is something that seems hard to avoid, but it is possible to live your entire life without credit cards. If, however, you already use one, keep the following in mind.
- Use credit cards sparingly
- Use one card at a time
- Avoid incurring heavy debts by making luxury or impulse purchases
If you need to rebuild your credit, you can do so by using a secured card that requires you to establish a deposit as a line of credit.