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Red Flags That Could Mean Doom for Your Money

Many people say that they feel surprised when their finances come undone, but there were actually warning flags before this happened.

If you are able to spot these red flags of impending financial trouble then you might be able to stop it before you end up in a bad financial situation. Here is a look at some of those warning signs that could spell financial trouble in the hopes that you can turn it around.

Your Credit Card Repayment Each Month is in High Triple Digits

If you are paying more than R1000 a month to cover your minimum monthly payment then you probably have too much credit card debt.

If you want to make progress on your balance and stop it from growing bigger then you need to pay well above the minimum amount that you owe. However, if you already owe so much on your credit card and you are struggling to pay the minimum then you may find it hard to get some extra cash together. This means that your card balance could easily get out of control. If you are not able to afford more than the minimum then it could take years for you to pay off your balance.

You are Charging Groceries and Petrol and Not Paying It Off

People are using credit cards more and more instead of using cash and debit cards to pay for everyday essentials. This is essentially so that they are able to take advantage of credit card rewards.

credit card charges

However, if you are not paying these expenses off each month in full then it could be that your living expenses are more than your income and you don’t have a financial cushion for your regular expenses.

The use of credit cards for everyday purchases should only be undertaken if you are financially able to pay off the balance for these in full each month.

You Keep Going into Your Savings

If you are constantly going into your long-term savings in order to make ends meet or to pay for unexpected expenses then you may not have enough liquidity to truly pay for a financial emergency.

Ideally, you will want to have at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved in an emergency fund to cover an unexpected expense or a job loss. However, it’s a sign that your finances are in trouble if you find that you are using your emergency fund or other savings for expenses beyond your budget.

There are still a few more red flags to know about…

You Often Pay Bank Fees

If you often end up paying for preventable bank fees like out of network ATM fees, late fees or overdraft fees then it could show that your finances are disorganised and are threatening your financial health.

Your Retirement Account Isn’t Growing

If you invest smartly and contribute regularly to your account, your retirement fund should grow significantly each year.

Retirement Fund

However, if you notice that your numbers aren’t really shifting then you may need to take another look at your investment strategy or you need to look at contributing more to account.

Your Income isn’t Growing

Your savings should be growing every year and so should the total amount that you take in. If your income is holding still then it could mean that you are not performing as well in your career or are not taking enough risks. Also, keep in mind that if your salary doesn’t at least keep pace with inflation then your salary is actually shrinking.

If you have noticed any of these things then you need to take a look at your finances and restructure your budget to fit with what your current financial situation is before things get any worse and you end up with out of control debt.

Manage Debt, Big or Small

We all have some type of debt that needs to be managed. If your debt is small then ensure that you keep on top of your payments so that it doesn’t spiral out of control. If your debt has already built up and is quite large then you will need to put a lot more effort into paying it off. If you want to manage your debt then take a look at these tips below.

debt

Know What You Owe

You can’t start to pay back your debt until you know what you owe. Make a list of all your debts, which includes who the creditor is, the amount of debt, what you need to pay each month and the due date. You can confirm each of these debts by using your credit report. This will give you the overall picture of where you stand with your debt and allow you to be aware of what you owe.

You need to refer to your list of debts regularly, especially as you pay bills and every couple of months update your list as the amount that you owe changes.

Remember to Pay your Bills

Paying off your debt will only get harder if you are late paying or miss a payment as you will be charged a late fee for this. If you miss two payments consecutively then your finance charges and your interest rates will increase.

Use your computer or phone to create a calendar of when your bills need to be paid. You can enter your payments there and set an alert several days before the due date to remind you to pay. If you do miss a payment then don’t wait until the next due date, rather pay as soon as you remember to avoid it being recorded to a credit bureau.

Keep a Calendar for your Bills

You should use a bill payment calendar to help you determine which bills to pay with which pay check. Your calendar should contain each bill payment next to each due date. Fill in the date of each pay check. If you get paid on the same days each month then you can use the same calendar month to month, but if you get paid on different days each month then you should make a new calendar every month.

The Minimum is Better than Nothing

If you are not able to pay more towards your debt, you need to make at least the minimum payment. The minimum payment will not really help you to reduce your debt, but it will stop it from growing and ensures your account remains in good standing.

Missing payments will make it harder for you to catch up and your accounts may end up going into default.

Keep reading to find more ways to manage your debt…

Prioritise Your Debts

You will need to prioritise your debt, meaning you need to decide which debt you will pay first. Tackling your credit card debt first is a good idea as this form of debt will usually carry a higher interest rate compared to other debt.

You can determine, which debt to pay first by referring to your debt list. You can decide to pay the largest debt first or you may feel more motivated to start with a lower balance as this will drive you forward to tackle bigger debts.

pay off debt

A Fund for the Unexpected

If you don’t have access to savings then you will need to go into debt to cover an emergency expense. Even having a small emergency fund in place will cover little expenses that come up.

Set a small emergency fund goal and once you have reached this, you can aim towards a larger fund. Eventually, you will want to have an emergency fund that covers at least 6 months of living expenses.

Time to Budget

A budget is a vital tool for everyone with debt. You need to ensure that you have enough money to cover your monthly expenses and you can use a budget to plan ahead so you can take early action if you think you won’t have enough money for your bills.

Also with a budget, you can plan how to spend any extra money like putting it towards debt so you pay your debt off faster.

Do You Need Help?

If you are finding it hard to pay off your debt each month then you may need help from a debt relief company or you can consider debt consolidation. You will need to weigh up your options and choose the path that is most suited to you and your financial situation.

Debt can easily get out of hand and if you are suffering with a lot of debt then you need to take action, make a plan and stick to it and if you are struggling then you can seek advice from debt counsellors or consider another form of action like debt consolidation so you only have to pay one payment each month to pay off your debt.

Tips to Stay Out of Debt Over Christmas

Christmas is an expensive time of year, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into debt to be able to afford the holiday season. Christmas can easily get out of hand, but isn’t it the season about spending time with your loved ones instead of spending thousands.

Here are some great tips on how you can stay out of debt over Christmas.

Stick to Your List

One way to easily overspend over Christmas is to buy on impulse and have no clear indication of what you are getting. You should make a list of possible gift ideas, you just need a few ideas for those that you are buying for. If you see one of the gifts for a good price then you should get it. The list is like your budget and you need to stick with it.

Start Early

It might be too late to start shopping early this year, but these tips will help you every year. You can start hunting for the gifts on your list early and if you find a good deal, you can buy it and cross it off your list. Starting early to look for gifts means you can take your time and hunt for the best price.

Wait for It

Even though it is a good idea to start shopping early, it might be wise to wait it out as well. Retailers are highly competitive and just because something is on sale now, it doesn’t mean it won’t be cheaper just before Christmas. Some of the best deals might be weeks before Christmas or just days before. However, waiting can lead to panic buys, so the best thing to do is to watch online sites and websites and see when those big-ticket items you want go on sale.

Buy Less

Instead of buying lots of things without much thought, you should buy less and also buy more meaningful gifts. There is the 4-gift rule that works for kids but can also work for adults. That is, you should get:

  • An item they want
  • An item they need
  • An item to read
  • A wearable item

Something to read is usually inexpensive and something they need can be as well like you may always need hair ties, for instance, and something to wear can even be something you make yourself.

Wait…There are more ways to save over Christmas…

Handmade Gifts

Do you have a hobby like knitting or sewing? Can you bake? If you are crafty you could make a gift for your family and friends like make a scarf or create a baked goods hamper.

Making a gift yourself is more meaningful and thoughtful. If you do make your gifts try and stick to one thing so you can buy your supplies in bulk and save money.

Put Money Away

Starting next year, you should put a little money away each week or month. There is the 52-week challenge for instance that starts around New Year’s Day. This challenge is where you put R10 away the first week, R20 the second week, R30 the third week and so on. However, you have to be disciplined for the challenge.

If you not able to do this, then you can just start putting a portion of your paycheck away each month and watch it grow so you are ready for Christmas.

Use Your Credit Card Rewards

Reward credit cards can be very useful if you know how to manage them. You can use your credit card that accumulates rewards like points to pay for everything and just transfer the money from your check account to settle the amount. You can use these points to buy gifts at selected stores.

Create Your Budget

Budgets are not fun, but they are needed as they make you more money conscious, especially around Christmas. You need to figure out how much you want to spend on each person and how much the main gift should be. This can help you to not overspend, because you have a clear guide of what you will spend.

Give Less

If you have a large family, it can be expensive to buy a gift for every single person. You should then suggest that you give less. You could set a limit on the amount to spend and just get one gift for the whole family with that amount or per couple, for instance. Otherwise, you can suggest a smaller amount per person and everyone has to buy within that limit.

Christmas can be pricey but you don’t have to go into debt for it. Look at how you can save money, spend less and plan for next year so that you know you will be able to get through the holiday season with your financials intact.

The Dos and Don’ts of Your Credit Card Over the Festive Season

The festive season is upon us, which means it’s time to shop. Many of us use our credit cards over this time, but using your credit card for all your holiday purchases can easily lead to a debt hangover when the new year hits.

You are able to make your holiday shopping experience smoother by using your credit card responsibly and knowing what you should avoid.

Festive Season Credit Card Dos

Know Your Credit Card Rewards

There are a number of credit cards that offer rewards when you use them. This can be in the form of cash back, discounts at certain online stores and points that you can then spend at specific stores. You may have been earning these rewards throughout the year and if so then this is the time to use them.

You are able to redeem points, for instance, and spend these on your holiday purchases at partner retailers. You can also increase the number of rewards you earn by using your card’s online shopping gateway. These stores may offer you discounts, points or even cash back.

You should look at what rewards you are able to get with your credit card and see how you can use these to your benefit over the Christmas period.

Create a Spending Budget

Using a credit card over the holidays doesn’t mean that you can shop without any thought. Credit cards are a lot easier for us to use and we don’t feel as bad when we pay with one when compared to cash, but this means it can lead you to spend more.

You should definitely have a budget in place for the festive season. Create a list of everyone that you plan to buy gifts for and how much you want to spend. Take a look at your monthly income and expenses and see what you can reasonably afford to spend and still be able to pay your credit card off in full once it’s all done.

If this doesn’t match what you have budgeted then you may need to cut back on the amount that you are spending on gifts. Another option might be to transfer the balance to a card with 0% APR, but you need to be sure you will be able to pay the balance off before the promotional rate ends so that you can avoid the interest.

Shop Safe and Watch Your Accounts

Credit card fraud can occur at any time, but it does seem to be more prevalent over the Christmas season when we are swiping our cards more often and shopping online more. If you are concerned about your credit card safety when shopping in-store or online then here are some things you can do.

  1. Always insert your cards security chip into a machine rather swiping the stripe as this offers more protection.
  2. You could link your cards to a reputable mobile payment app and use this to pay for purchases for extra security.
  3. Make sure the websites you use for online shopping are secure and have security measures in place.
  4. If you are on a public Wi-Fi, then avoid using your credit card to make an online purchase.
  5. Practice caution when making credit card purchases from third parties. Verify the seller’s information before you hand over your credit card details.
  6. Create account alerts that notify you of new purchases and check your statements often for any signs of fraud.

Wait…You Need to Know What to Avoid…

Festive Season Credit Card Don’ts

Chase Store Card Discounts

Over the festive season, you may start to feel that you are being offered a new credit card at every store you go into. Retailers may offer large discounts on your initial purchase, store vouchers or other incentives aimed at tempting you to take one of the store cards.

However, even though store cards may offer initial savings, in the long run, these cards won’t prove to be as effective as traditional rewards credit cards, especially if you don’t go to that store often.

Also, a retail store card may charge a higher annual percentage rate for purchases compared to a regular credit card, which means it will cost you more over time if you carry a balance.

Keep in mind that each enquiry for any new credit will reflect on your credit report and adding multiple credit cards over the festive period will take points away from your credit score.

Max Out Your Cards

Your credit score is largely determined by your credit utilisation ratio. This ratio shows how much of your available credit you are using at any time. Having a high balance will then have a negative impact on your credit score.

If you have multiple credit cards, then avoid maxing all of these out over the holidays by just using one card for shopping.

This should be the card that offers the highest rewards on purchases or the card that has the lowest APR for purchases.

Stick to one card and watch your balance to ensure that you are staying in budget. You can set up a text or email alert that notifies you of every purchase made or when your balance reaches a certain level.

The holiday season is here and we are all tempted to shop, shop and shop, especially with so many retailers offering specials and discounts during the season, but don’t get silly with your credit cards because once the festivities are over you will just be saddled with debt.

Tips for Sticking to Your Debt Payoff Plan

If you are going to succeed in finishing your debt payoff plan then you should know that it will require an insane amount of commitment. You may feel demotivated when you start to realise the amount of time and the number of sacrifices that you need to make in order to see any results.

It can be tough to stick to your debt repayment plan, but if you stick with it, you will see results. Here are some tips that can help you to stick your debt payoff plan.

Be Realistic

If your debt payoff plan is unrealistic then it will be impossible for you to stick to it from the get go. If you have overestimated what you are able to pay or have underestimated how much time it will take then you may want to just give up.

However, you can readjust your plan along the way and as your financial situation changes. You should evaluate your current income and expenses and then calculate what you are really able to afford and put towards debt each month.

You should pay more when you can, but your plan should be based on what you can really afford.

You will then need to determine the time it will take you to pay off your debt based on what you are paying each month.

Write Down Your Plan

Write down your plan for your debt as you are more likely to achieve your goal as writing it down is like a commitment that you are making to get out of debt.

Your plan doesn’t need to be complicated, just write down your debts, the due dates, the minimum payments and the extra payment that you will make to just one of your debts.

Once, you have your plan written down, put it somewhere that you can refer to it often. As you pay off debts, you can adjust your plan.

Keep Track

With every payment that you make towards your debt, your balances will go down. The accounts that you are paying the minimum on will only go down a little each month, but the one you are paying more on will be reduced a lot quicker.

You should feel good about every payment you make as you are taking steps to paying off your debt.

Every now and then, take a look at your current balances and compare this to where you where you started and feel good about whatever progress you are making.

Pay More When You Can

Once, you have an amount set to pay each month, stick to it, but if you are able to pay more at any given time then you should.

Don’t Let Setbacks Take You Off Track

There might be a month where an unexpected expense will keep you from paying more on your debt or something might happen, which means you can only pay the minimum payments for a few months.

However, these setbacks should not be a reason to quit your plan. You should determine what happened, if you could have avoided it and then pick up your payments ASAP.

Wait…There are still more tips…

Stick to Your Budget

You will need to create a budget if you plan to pay off your debt. Your budget should include what you pay for bills and necessary expenses. Throughout the month, you should look at your budget and make sure you are on track. If you overspend then you will have less money to put towards your debt.

If you always find that you are going over budget, then review your plan and ensure it fits with your true expenses. If you adjust your budget then you will need to adjust your plan. Your debt plan needs to fit your budget.

Avoid More Debt

Your debt problem will only be made worse by using your credit cards or taking a new loan. Creating more debt will only push your goal further away and you will not make any progress on your debt payoff plan.

You should live within your means and stick to a budget so you don’t need to use your credit cards.

Take Small Breaks

It can take a long to become debt free and it may even take years. If you are only sacrificing then it can make you feel like you want to give up. But why not take a small break from your debt plan every once in a while, to just enjoy yourself.

As you won’t be able to do this often, make sure you spend money on something that will bring you long-term satisfaction. On these breaks, determine an amount that won’t affect your progress, stick to this and don’t go into more debt.

Keep in Mind Why You Are Paying Your Debt

There are a number of reasons for paying your debt off and you should write down these reasons and refer back to them whenever you are feeling unmotivated. It can help you to stick to your long-term debt repayment plan when you remember what you are doing it for.

Paying off debt is not easy and it can take a long time, but the goal is to become debt free and imagine how great that will feel once you reach the end. Celebrate your accomplishments and stick to it and remember why you are doing this.

Tricks to Stop Using Your Credit Card

You are probably aware that your debt is starting to mounting up, but you are finding it hard to stop using your credit cards because they are easy to use for those splurge buys and even everyday expenses, but if you are drowning in debt then you need to stop using your credit cards before you go under.

Lock Them Away

Put your credit cards in a place that would require effort in order for you to get them. You can control your need to use your credit cards by keeping them out of your reach. You could even freeze your credit cards in a bowl of water.

Close Your Cards

You can call your cardholder to have your credit card to become inactive. Your credit score will take a negative hit when you close a credit card, so make sure the card your closing isn’t one that should be left open. However, it might be worth taking the credit hit if it stops you spending more than you have.

Shred Them

Shred your credit cards into pieces, because you can then definitely not use them. If you don’t have a shredder then use scissors and cut your cards into small pieces so that the credit card number can’t be guessed by identity thieves.

Leave Them at Home

Before you go shopping, take your credit cards out of your wallet and leave them at home. If you get an impulse to buy something, you will need to use cash or you will need to come back with your credit card, but by that time your impulse to buy may have gone.

Practice Self-Control

You should practice self-control and self-discipline to stop using your credit cards. You should think twice before you decide to swipe your credit card.

Shock Yourself

Have you ever really looked at the interest you are paying on your credit cards? Well if not, you should. You will be able to see the interest you are paying on your credit card statements and when you add a year’s worth of interest, you might be surprised at the total and could think of better ways that money could be spent.

Credit cards are easy to use and it is because of this ease that we continuously use them and just think we will pay it off later, however, credit card debt can quickly mount up so stop using your credit cards and pay off your debt, for a debt free life.

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

If you are finding that your credit card debt is just piling up then you may want to pay it off and get out of your credit card debt. There are a number of ways that you can get out of credit card debt, so keep reading to find out how.

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

Know What You Owe

The first thing that you will need to do before you can start to reduce your credit card debt is to know what you owe. You need to be honest and write the debt down as well as the interest rate that is charged on the debt for every card that you have. This will give you exactly what you owe in total.

Get a Better Rate

One way that you are able to save on your credit card debt is to negotiate for lower interest rate. This can help you to save money whilst you pay down your debt. Your credit score will play a role in whether your credit card company is willing to lower the interest rate. However, you should call each credit card company that you are with and request a lower interest rate. If you manage to get this then write down the new rate.

Know What You Spend

You should write down all your committed expenses each month like your mortgage or rent, utilities, insurance, phone, internet, minimum credit card payments and other such things and then keep track of your other expenses like entertainment, meals out etc. This will form the basis of your budget. You should look at a year’s worth of bank statements and credit card bills to get an accurate monthly spend and keep tracking your expenses.

Make a Budget

Once you know what it is that you spend, it is time to start cutting those expenses. There will be some sacrifices that you will need to make but you need to be realistic as well. Even little adjustments can help you to save money. You should also have some breathing room in your budget in case any unexpected expenses crop up.

Write down at least three ways you can immediately cut back and consider downgrading or cancelling some services.

How You Going to Pay It Off

There are two main strategies that are used to pay off credit card debt. The first one is to put all your extra cash into the highest interest card whilst you pay the minimum on the others. This is the fastest way to lower your debt. Once, you have paid off the first card, you will have even more money to put towards the second highest interest card and so on.

The second way is to the pay the card off with the lowest balance first and to pay the minimums on the others. This is not the most cost-effective strategy, but it is the fastest way to get rid of debt on a single card and it will motivate you to carry on.

Put the Cards Away

Credit cards often lead people to spend more than they can afford, because it is easy. So, if you are tempted by your credit cards, put them away and look at only using cash. This will make you more conscious of money.

Track Your Progress

Always keep an eye on your spending and have a look at your progress every few months. You need to accept that it will take you a while to get out of debt, but stick to it for a while and you will be able to get out of credit card debt.

Wait…So What Do You Have to Give Up?

What You Will Need to Give Up to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

The fact is that if you want to get out of credit card debt then you will need to give up a few things.

Keeping Up with Your Friends

You can end up spending more money than you have because of your friends. You may see what they are wearing or the gadgets that they have and also want this, but do you really have the money to keep up with them?

You should stop looking at everything that your friends have, which will help you to avoid temptation. It is your life and you need to be content with what you have and what you can do. Stop looking at your friends and basing your spending on what they do and have.

Denial

Ignoring your debt is never a good idea because it won’t just go away and also don’t lie to yourself by saying that you have it under control when you don’t. The longer you wait to tackle your debt the more interest you will owe. Take ownership of your debt and tackle it.

Going Out to Eat

Eating out can quickly add up and the fact is, it is cheaper to eat at home. Instead of ordering lunch at work, pack a lunch the night before to take to work. You can also prepare your weeks meals on a Sunday and freeze them. This is convenient as you will always have something to eat and you will be less tempted to go out and eat or order takeaway.

Your Plastic

If you are deep in debt then you should consider ditching the plastic altogether and only use cash. This will help you to save money, because you will not be tempted to stick everything on your credit card. You will also be more mindful of money as you can only use the cash you have.

Every week, draw a certain amount of cash for that week and commit to only spending that amount. This will also give you a better idea of just how much money you are spending, because you may find that cash can just disappear.

Getting out of credit card debt is not quick and easy. You will need to make cut backs and use that extra money to pay off your debt. This is the only way that you can start living a debt free life.

Ways You Can Cut Your Monthly Expenses

If you are looking for ways to cut your expenses so that you have more money available to pay down your debt or to save, then take a look at these ways you can cut your monthly expenses.

Know Your Expenses

If you want to cut down your monthly expenses then you will first need to know what you are spending your money on. You should know exactly what you are spending even every cent and write down all these expenses. You will then be able to see where you are able to cut costs.

Stop the Takeaway Coffees

If you are constantly grabbing a cup of coffee on the way to work then you should add this expense up because you will be surprised how much that coffee is costing you. Rather get a nice flask and make your own coffee.

Walk or Cycle to Work

One way that you can save money if you live close to work is to stop using your car or public transport and rather cycle or walk to work. This will save you money and you will become fitter in the process.

Shop Sales and in Thrift Stores

Sales are a great way to save money, because you will be able to get that item you have been looking for but for less. Second hand stores can also be a treasure trove sometimes and you might find something that you can upcycle. If you need to update your wardrobe or your home then try the cheaper alternatives first.

Go Unbranded at the Supermarkets

You might be only saving a little on each item, but the taste is basically the same. Shopping unbranded grocery items will save you money.

Cook your Meals in Bulk

On a Sunday, set aside a few hours and make a bunch of different dishes for the week and put them in the freezer. This ensures you always have something tasty to eat and you won’t be tempted with takeaways.

Cut Back on Expensive Drinks

A lot of people will spend a small fortune on drinks on a night out. You should try and cut back on these or go alcohol free for a while and see how much you save.

Get Rid of Large Overdrafts

If you have a large overdraft then the chances are that you will spend it each month. If you don’t want to completely lose your overdraft, you can cut it by half and see if that makes you more careful with money.

Get Rid of Your Unwanted Stuff

If you have a bunch of stuff that you don’t need any more then why not sell them. You can have a sale or sell the items on eBay.

Check your Insurance

If you have any type of insurance then you should shop around, compare prices and find the best deal so you can save some money.

Wait…there are still more ways you can cut expenses…

Save your Change

Have a jar for all your lose change and count this up when its full, see how much you have saved.

What Do You Pay for Your Internet and Phone

Have a look at current internet deals and see if you can find what you want for cheaper. The same goes with your cell phone deal as there might be a cheaper deal that suits your needs.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Cleaning products can be expansive, but there are a number of ways that you can make your own cleaning products and it will be cheaper. For instance, you can spray lemon juice on surfaces to get rid of stains and grease marks, vinegar is great for wooden floors and so on.

Make Your Beauty Regime Simple

We can all be tempted with the fancy creams that claim to give us fresher, fuller and wrinkle free skin, but the truth is that for healthy skin you just need a good diet and plenty of hydration. Try almond or coconut oil instead of expensive creams.

You Don’t Need That Gym Membership

You don’t need to pay to keep fit. You can take a bike ride, jog and do other exercises at home and outside. You can even arrange your own workout sessions with friends that also don’t want to go to the gym.

Save Electricity

If you leave a room, flick the switch so you can save on your electricity bill. Another good idea is to replace bulbs with energy savings ones. You will save money and the environment at the same time.

Only Use Cash

You should only allow yourself a certain amount of money each week and only spend that amount. If you keep using credit and debit cards to pay for things, you will find it hard to keep track of your spending.

Find Deals

There are a number of sites that offer deals and discount codes. You should look for these deals and see if you can use any of them to save some money.

Change Your Attitude to Money

You should change your attitude towards money and be grateful for what you have instead of complaining that you don’t have enough money. Changing the way, you think about money, will change the way you use it and will help you to cut expenses.

Once, you start to cut expenses you can use the money to help pay for any debt that you may have or you can use this extra money to create a savings fund so that you are always prepared for any eventuality. Managing money can be hard, especially if you have debt but making small cut backs can go a long way.

 

4 Steps to Get Out of Debt

Are you in debt? Here are 4 steps that can help you to get out of debt.

Make Small Payments

Break your large debt balances down into smaller and more manageable payments based on a realistic budget. Making these smaller payments over time will help you to pay off your credit card in a more manageable way.

Pay Debt Faster with Accelerated Payments

If you want to pay off your mortgage faster than you should accelerate your payments. You can change the monthly payments to semi-monthly, bi-weekly or weekly if you can. This will reduce the amount that you owe and the time that it will take to pay off your mortgage.

Avoid Impulse Spending

It is a good idea to track your spending and see what you are spending your money on. You might be surprised about how you spend your money and those impulse buys can quickly add up.  Have a look at where you can make cuts and use that money to pay off debt.

Create a Spending Plan

You should create a spending plan or a budget that shows your monthly expenses and what free money you have. This will also help you to identify areas where you can make cuts and the amount of money that you have spare each month, which can go towards debt.

Common Types of Debt and What to Do About Them

There are different types of debt and even though you may have one or more of these debts, you are able to get out of them. You need to be able to take control of your debts and pay them off. Here is how you can tackle the different types of debt.

Credit Cards

You need to take stock of all your credit card debt and write down exactly what you owe as well as the interest rate on each card.

You should contact each of your credit card issuers and explain to them why you are not able to repay the amount that you owe and inform them of what you can afford and see if they are willing to agree to a lower amount. You might also be able to negotiate a lower interest rate for each card.

Once, you know what you owe, you need to calculate how long it is going to take you to pay everything.

This will help you to know the amount that you will need to repay each month and you will have a set goal of when your debt will be paid.

You should arrange your credit cards from the highest interest rate to the lowest and pay them like this.

You should aim to pay more than the minimum amount, but if you are on a tight budget then pay the minimum each month and try and make the same payment a couple of weeks later. Making the minimum payment twice a month until your debt has been paid.

As you are paying off your credit card debt, you should avoid creating anymore debt. You need to look at your expenses, create a budget and stick to it.

Medical Bills

Medical bills can be highly expensive and they can add up quickly. Medical debt can be hard to handle and you will usually not be in a position to turn down the care even if you can’t afford it.

The first thing that you should do is check your medical bills for any errors and that you actually did use all the services they are charging you for. You can also negotiate on your medical bills.

Also, see if they are willing to set up a repayment plan with you at a rate that you are able to afford.

Wait…There are a couple more types of debt…

Mortgage

There are ways you can reduce your mortgage and save money. When you put in the effort to pay off your mortgage early, you will own your house, which means no one can take it from you and you will be able to free up some extra money.

When you refinance your mortgage, you can decrease the interest rate that you are paying, which will then help you to save on your mortgage.

It might be a good idea to extend the timeline of your loan, which may sound counterproductive but the amount that you need to pay each month is lowered. You can also still pay the original amount on the lower plan as this will help you to pay it off quicker.

You should try and make a plan to repay your mortgage as quickly as possible at a rate you can afford.

Student Loans

Education debt is becoming more and more common, but there are ways that you are able to reduce student loans.

Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements or on a financial need. You could apply for various scholarships and even if you are awarded various scholarships for smaller amounts, it is still money that you don’t need to generate debt for.

A grant is similar to a scholarship, but these are usually awarded by the government or organizations.

It might be an idea to work part time jobs and use your earnings to help pay for your education, so that you can reduce the amount that you need to borrow. You could also work before heading to university and save the money you earn to pay for your education and avoid borrowing money altogether.

You should see if your lending company is willing to work out a repayment plan with you, once you have a job and are earning an income. They might be willing to reduce the amount that you owe or plan the repayments around your current level of income.

Student loans are tricky because you might not have been aware of what you are getting yourself into before you took the debt on. You will need to create a budget, so you can pay more towards the debt or make multiple payments a month so that you can pay your student loan off ASAP.

With debt, you will need to do a lot of thinking and understand that you will have a lot of work ahead of you. You need to understand all the consequences of your debt, especially, before you declare bankruptcy or settle your debt. It is a good idea to seek the help of a financial advisor and find out what they recommend.

Debt can be stressful and dealing with debt can feel overwhelming, but you can’t ignore your situation. You will need to deal with your debt and speak to your creditors to see if you can come to an arrangement, so you can pay off the debt.