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If creditors have been hounding you for payment, you may be wondering how in the world you’ll ever get out of debt. Many people fear they will never get out of their financial strife because what they owe is more than what they can afford to pay back in the foreseeable future.
The good news is that even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, there’s light at the end of that stifling tunnel. You can get out of debt sooner rather than later by following the tips listed below.
1. Create a Budget that Works for You
Every person’s debt profile is different. This means you may have to explore multiple solutions to get out of debt before you find one that works for you.
Before you panic or throw your hands up in despair at the mountains of debt you owe, take a minute to look closely at how much you have coming in and going out. Evaluate the things that are necessary and not and find ways to cut expenses where you can. When you create a budget like this and stick with it, your eyes are opened to how much you really spend (get ready for a shock), and you often find funds you didn’t even know you had.
2. Make a Plan for Repayment
Most creditors are willing to work with you as long as you let them know about your situation. It’s when you ignore their repeated attempts to contact you that they begin to get nasty. If you’re experiencing financial hardship or can’t afford to pay as much as they’re asking each month, just contact the creditor and work out a payment plan. Keeping them in the loop makes them much more understanding and willing to work with you.
3. Get a Lower Interest Rate
There are a few different options for obtaining a lower interest rate on your lines of credit. First, you can simply call the creditor and ask for a lower interest rate. If you have a history of on-time payments, the creditor may be more inclined to grant you the more reasonable rate you seek.
Second, you could transfer high-interest balances to a lower-interest bearing credit card. Some of these cards have introductory periods with no interest for a specified amount of time. If you plan to pay the balance off during that time, you could save a ton in interest.
Having said that, if you don’t pay off the balance during that introductory period, you could end up owing more than you originally started with once the interest rate kicks in.
The last of these options to consider is a debt consolidation loan that allows you to combine all your high-interest loans into one lower-rate loan. Alternatively, you could also work with a debt management service who will advocate on your behalf to your creditors for lower monthly payments.
4. Stop Using Credit Cards
Credit card use seems to be what drives the economy these days, but if you’ve over-extended yourself (it’s easy to do), credit cards can be a nightmare to pay off. The easiest way to pay off debt is to stop adding to it with more credit card spending. Cut your cards up, put them in the freezer – whatever you have to do to keep yourself from using them.
Facing excess debt is never fun, but regardless of your income level, you can pay it down and achieve financial freedom. If you find yourself feeling hopeless about the financial hole you’ve gotten into, use the tips above to pull yourself out.