Regardless of the level of debt you find yourself in, you can start today to formulate a plan to get out of debt. The unvarnished truth is, debt costs! If you are paying interest on credit cards, a car payment, and a house payment, then you would be amazed how much better off you would be if you were out of debt. It may look like you have a mountain to move, but if you take it one step at a time - and exercise some financial restraint - you should be able to get out of debt.
A good place to start is to find out exactly how much you owe and how big your payments are. That may sound unnecessary, but the fact is that many of us lose track of financial matters. Be sure you don't forget a credit card, a medical payment, or any other monthly payment, as you make a list of all your bills.
Now figure out how much money you have coming in. Hopefully it is more than the total of the minimum payments on all your debts and other bills! If not, you need to find a better job or get some more income somehow. Assuming you have enough income but have simply gotten out of control, the next step is to figure out which of your debts has the highest interest rate.
As you make your monthly payments, be sure to add as much extra as possible to the debt with the highest interest. Pay the minimum on the rest. By adding extra money to your payment, you will be paying off the principal faster, which will save that extra interest when that debt is paid off. Keep adding what you can. When that debt is out of the way, start adding extra to the next highest interest payment.
You can reduce your credit card debt by applying for a no interest card and making a balance transfer from your highest interest card. Keep track of the interest on each card and pay off the high interest cards as early as possible.
While you are adding extra money to your payments, you will want to live frugally. There are some great books on the market that give tons of ideas for saving money. You might discover that the simplicity of frugal living is fun. In fact, it's almost addictive to start looking for ways to cut back. Don't look at it as deprivation. Look at it as a chance to be creative.
Some obvious places to save money are in the areas of food and entertainment. Do you really need satellite or cable TV? Could you reduce the number of times you eat out per week, or choose from the dollar menu more often? Drinks can be a real drain on the food budget. Learn to like water! If your city water supply doesn't taste good, try using a filter.
You'd be surprised how quickly debts can go down if you chisel away at them a little at a time. Even an extra $5 or $10 per month will make a difference. In fact, you might just want to round each one up to the nearest five or ten dollar increment. For instance, if your payment is $26.50, round it up to $30. Every little bit will make a difference. And remember, don't get anything new on the credit cards!
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