Debt can be overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to consume your life. With the right planning, dedication, and attitude, your journey to a debt-free life could start today. Here are some tips on how you could help manage your debt today.
Know Your Debt
The first step at tackling your debt is being fully aware of just how much debt you have. Make a comprehensive spreadsheet of all your debt amounts that includes details like interest rate, monthly payment amount, and due date. It’s important to be honest with yourself in this phase. Look at your previous spending. What are the areas where you tend to overspend? Resolve to make changes in your budget to put your spending back within your means.
Understanding Your Credit Score
The next step is to understand your credit score and how it could be holding you back. There are wonderful financial tools you can take advantage of to know where your credit score stands, including free yearly credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus. In these reports, you can also verify debt amounts and make sure there are no errors.
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Create Your Debt Gameplan
Create a debt gameplan, where you determine the order in which you will focus your attention. High interest rates can dramatically slow down your debt repayment process. Sort your debts in order of highest to lowest interest rates and plan to work down the list, starting with repaying the ones with higher interest rates. Oftentimes, you may be able to lower your interest rates on your debts by calling your lenders and asking if they can help you out by reducing your rate. Need additional help? Look for introductory credit card offers that allow you to transfer balances at a low interest rate. You might also consider taking out a personal loan to consolidate high-interest debt at a lower rate.
While your priority should be on paying off your high-interest debts first, it can be helpful to pay off your smaller balances with any excess funds. This will help create momentum and expedite the repayment process. In your debt relief journey, it’s important to remember that one of the most harmful things you can do to your credit is skip payments or pay late. Set up reminders or sign up for autopay online with as many bills as possible.
Have a Positive Attitude
Ultimately, your journey to a debt free life is about commitment and attitude. Your attitude when it comes to debt relief is just as crucial as your gameplan. Create a vision of where you want to be in the future financially, once you’ve repaid your debts. Whether your goal is to buy a home, buy a car, or start a college fund for your child, having a positive outcome to work toward can be highly motivating.