If you’ve ever felt overcome by complete and utter despair over the thought of your debt and how you’ll ever pay it all off, you’re not alone— more than half of Americans spend more than they earn month, with the average credit card debt reaching a whopping $6,929. Between credit card payments, mortgages and student loans (to name a few), it can be overwhelming to think about and keep track of it all. The good news though is that there are tons of ways to start decreasing your debt and working towards financial freedom. Here are a few:
- Stop Adding to Your Debt
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually the first and most important step to paying off all that you owe. While this alone won’t lower your amounts owed, you can breathe a little easier knowing that your debts won’t continue to accumulate.
- Make a Plan
Find some time to sit down and really assess your financials. Figure out your monthly income (after taxes) and subtract out monthly expenses, including mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, etc. Use whatever amount remains towards your debt, and if necessary, find ways to reduce your spending in order to increase this leftover amount.
- Begin Creating an Emergency-Only Fund
Why set aside this money when you could use it to pay off your debt? The answer— by having an emergency-only fund available, you eliminate the need to put any of these charges on a credit card, which only puts you further into debt and raises your minimum payment.
- Pay Off One Debt at a Time
There are several ways to go about this—some people use the snowball debt method, in which they start making big lump sum payments on their smallest debts first before tackling the larger ones. Others start by making these big payments on the debt with the highest interest rate, regardless of whether it’s their smallest debt or not. Whatever you choose, make sure you focus on one debt at a time and ALWAYS pay at least the minimum on all your debts.
- Sell Unwanted Items
One of the easiest ways to earn a little extra money to use towards your debt is to sell any items you don’t use or want anymore. While traditional garage sales might not always be feasible, posting your items for sale on a local Facebook yard sale group lets more people see your items more quickly, putting extra cash in your pocket for little to no effort on your part.
Always remember that no matter what type of debt you’re in, there are steps you can take today to begin your journey to becoming debt free. Know that while it isn’t easy and will not happen overnight, finding a plan that works for you (and sticking with it), will allow you to start living the life you want to live. If you need help managing your debt or are interested in learning more about finding the right solution to alleviating the stress of your debt, come in and see us. We will work with you to find the right steps to getting you started on your journey to financial freedom!