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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.

 

What Causes Debt and How to Get Out of Debt

Debt is a serious issue and many of us are in debt for one reason or another. Here is a look at the most common reasons why people go into debt, what causes debt and how to get out of debt.

What Causes Debt?

Smaller Income but the Same Expenses

We are often slow at bringing our expenses in line with a reduction in income, which means we allow debt to come into play. If you are faced with a reduction in salary then you need to adjust, whether it is a temporary shift or a permanent one.

Divorce

Divorce is unfortunately common, but what many people don’t realise is that it can be expensive. There are legal fees that need to be paid and you and your spouse will be paying for assets to buy the spouse out.

Not Being Able to Manage Money

You must have a monthly spending plan in place. If you don’t have one then you will have no idea where your money is going. You may discover that you are paying for things that are not necessary, which can lead you to charge other items on your credit card. All you need to do is write down your expenses and income and bring these in line with one another. It is about making thoughtful decisions about how and when to spend your money.

Underemployment

If you find yourself unemployed for any reason then make sure you put your expenses in line with what your current income is. If your income increases in the future due to more hours, a second job or even a better job, then you can slowly start adding in the expenses that you got rid of when you became unemployed. However, make sure everything balances.

Hitting the Casinos

Gambling is a major concern and now with online gambling, it is so much easier to spend your money. Gambling is addictive and you are not a managed gambler then you can easily see all your money disappearing. Also, credit and loans are freely available from casinos and other places.

Wait…There are more causes you need to know…

Paying Medical Expenses

This is a common cause of debt for many people due to gaps in coverage, expensive alternatives and lapsed policies. Many people are not able to cover a medical expense without the use of a credit card, which means you will end up in debt.

You Are Not Saving Any Money

One way that you are able to avoid unwanted debt is to prepare for any unexpected expense by saving at least 6 months of living expenses. If anything happens, the financial strain won’t take effect immediately and you won’t end up in more debt then you have to be.

You Need to Communicate About Money

You need to communicate to your spouse or partner as well as your children about finances. You need to be able to discuss financial goals and spending styles. Be open and honest about any debt that you may have and be honest about what you are spending.

Hoping on Windfalls

It can be tempting to spend money that you expect before you even have it. You may definitely get a job bonus, but something like an inheritance is not a sure thing. You should only spend the money when you have it.

Financial Literacy

Many people don’t know how money works, how it grows, how to save and invest and so on. You need to be responsible with your money and educate yourself in money matters. A financial mistake can be expensive and complicated to fix.

How to Get Out of Debt

If you are in debt, there is something you can do about it. Here are effective ways to get out of debt.

Pay More Than the Minimum

You should always make sure that you pay more than the minimum payments. If you only pay the minimum then it can take forever to pay off your credit card. You should rather pay as much as you are able to afford. Also, by paying off your balance quicker, you will save in the long run on interest.

Spend Less Than What You Plan to Spend

We all have wants that are larger than our pay cheques and many people end up in debt because they just spend money frivolously on just what they want. If you do want something then you shouldn’t buy it unless you have the money. You need to become satisfied with less and rather use any money that you save to pay down debt that you may already have.

Pay the Most Expensive Debt First

A great way to get out of debt is to make the minimum payment on all your debts apart from one. You should choose a debt that is charging you the most interest and focus on paying that debt off first. Once this is paid off, take the money that you were paying for this debt and use to pay off the next most expensive debt. You should carry on doing this until your last debt.

Spend Less on Groceries

One way to save money is to stock up on groceries that are on sale or you can stockpile sale items and then skip a shop every month and only use the food that you have. Non-perishables can be stocked piled and you are able to freeze meat and bread, for instance. Filling your cupboards with groceries that are on sale and then skipping a shop can save you money. You may still need to buy items like milk, vegetables and fruit, but you can skip the rest. Think of ways you can reduce your grocery bill and save money that can be used to help pay off debts.

Take a Second Job

Getting a second shop or picking up some extra shifts is a common way for people to pay down debts. All the extra income that you receive from your second job, should be used only for the purpose of paying debt. Once, your debts are paid, you can scale back on the work if you want to.

Track Your Spending

This can help some people save a lot of money. You should track what you are spending and not just think what you are spending in a month. You need to be completely honest in order for this to work. Many people are surprised by what they spend money on. Once, you know what you are spending you are able to see where you can make cutbacks and the money that you find can be used to pay off debt.

There are a still a few more ways you can get out of debt…

A Consolidation Loan

You should find out if your bank is able to help with the consolidation of your debts and put them into one loan that has just one payment with a lower interest rate. This can make it easier for you to pay off your debts. However, a debt consolidation loan will only help if you create a budget where you are able to save some money each month. If you do not have savings then you may find that you have to reapply for credit cards and you will just end up in debt again.

Refinance Your Mortgage

If you own your home then you may have enough equity in your home to consolidate your debts into your mortgage. However, before you do this, you should know all your options and get independent advice. If you do choose to consolidate your debts into your mortgage then you need to make sure you can still save so you are not tempted to borrow money for any unexpected expenses.

Get in Touch with a Credit Counsellor

If you are deep in debt and feel like bankruptcy is your only option then you should speak to a credit counsellor. A credit counsellor will have programs to help you deal with debt and will explain all your options so that you can choose the best one for you.

Have a Spending Plan

You should create a budget so that you stay on track with your current debt payments. A budget will help you to spend less than what you earn.

There are a number of ways that can help you to get out of debt and it is all about using the money that you have in a sensible way, so you are able to free up some money to help pay off debts. You need to be financially smart and seek advice if you are struggling so you can tackle your debt and become debt free.