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5 Practical Ways To Successfully Deal With Debt

For the last couple of days my E-mail inbox has been flooded with "Cyber Deal" adds like nobody's business. It made me realize how easy one can unconsciously get into debt if you fall for all the hype of these "SALES" that we get bombarded with. This thought impelled me to write this post. Around this time of year I know so many people are putting their hard-earned dollars to some vigorous exercise by buying gifts. As much as it is great for the overall economy, debt can strain or even destroy families as well. For instance, think of the consequences of possibly maxing out credit cards: you may have to spend less time together with your family the rest of the year working overtime to pay off the bills, not to mention that large credit card debt leads to more tension and fights within the family.

It's been said that the leading cause of divorce in United States is disagreements about money. Excessive debt also brings health risks, such as insomnia, headaches, stomachaches, heart attacks, and depression. Some even sleep most of the day because they're depressed about their debt; becoming helpless to their family that depend on them for emotional support and love. For some, the stress becomes so unbearable that they commit suicide after falling behind on payments. Remember, it will not help matters if you vent anger on your mate - even if you had no part on incurring the debt. Instead, view the debt as a mutual enemy that has come between you and your family. Fight the debt, not each other. Such cooperation will help you solve your financial problems unitedly and will you guide your future financial decisions.

What if your family is already under stress because of debt? What can help you meet the challenges you face? Here are 5 practical ways to successfully deal with debt.

1. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES. Determine your current budget. Keep a record of all money moving in or out of your household for two weeks—or a month, if that is more practical. Add to this record expenses such as taxes, insurance, or clothing, which may occur much less frequently, and use monthly averages for them.

2. INCREASE YOUR INCOME. You could take on extra shifts at your current job, perform seasonal work, tutor a student, recycle, or make your hobby into a home business.

Caution: Take care not to allow work to encroach on activities that are more important, such as spending time with your family.

3. REDUCE YOUR EXPENSES. Buy an item only if you need it, not just because it's on sale. Waiting to buy is good, since it helps you to decide if you really need the item or just want it.

TIPS: Here are some additional things to think about...
  • Housing: Can you move into a residence with a smaller monthly payment? It will reduce your utility costs by conserving electricity, water, and heat.
  • Food: Can you pack lunch and snacks daily? It will save you the money spent on eating out regularly everyday. Use grocery coupons and other special offers. If possible, buy your fruits and vegetables at street markets just before they close. You will get a better deal.
  • Transportation: Instead of trading in your current vehicle for newer models, why not keep it. Sell any nonessential vehicle(s) for extra cash, or can use public transportation or walk whenever you can. Bonus: you'll reap some health benefits doing that.

4. ANALYZE YOUR DEBT AND ACT. First, determine for each debt the interest rate, the fees, and how a late payment or missed payment will impact you. Make sure to examine well the wording of any loans or bills carefully, since creditors can be deceptive. For example, one short-term loan service in the U.S. stated that its interest rate was 24 percent, when, in fact, it was over 400 percent.

Ways to tackle your debts.
  • Pay down debt with the highest interest rate first.
  • Pay smaller balances off quickly, since receiving fewer bills each month will likely boost your morale.
  • Get a new loan at a lower rate to pay off the existing ones.
  • Try to negotiate payment plans with your creditors by asking for either an extension or a lower interest rate. Some creditors might be willing to reduce what you owe if you can pay the lower amount in full right now.
  • Be honest and courteous in explaining your financial situation.
  • Put all agreements in writing.
  • Don't give up if your requests aren't successful at first, be willing to persist in asking for an adjustment if necessary.
  • Be realistic as you manage your finances. Even the best plan can fail as a result of factors beyond your control since money can be here today and gone tomorrow.
  • Dealing with debt calls for sacrifices; yet the results are worth the effort.

5. KEEP MONEY IN ITS PROPER PLACE. Rather than being obsessed with money or the lack of it, it's best being content with what you have and your current financial circumstances choosing to view friendships and families more important than material possessions. Spending more time with your spouse, children, friends and family will make you happier.

TIP: Arrange time to talk openly and calmly about your debt. Acknowledge any mistakes you may have made. Rather than dwelling on the past, try to agree on talking candidly about all future purchases. Your children can join in the effort by explaining to them that you can't afford everything that they ask for, and will buy it when the money is saved over time. Prepare a budget, discuss how everyone can reduce expenses or increase family's income. Seeing one another's sacrifices can help pull each individual together in the fight against debt.

*Try this: List things that are truly valuable to you and that money cannot buy. Next, determine how to increase the time and energy you devote to each item on your list.

*Images: {1} personal {2} lana-del-rey-vogue-australia-07 {3} source {4} source  {5} source {6} Pinterest

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post & excellent timing! It is so hard not to fall into the debt traps!