It’s very difficult to be debt free but you can do it!
As Americans’ things like homes, cars and higher education are not affordable with cash so we have no choice but to take on debt. There are ways to resolve your debt, get your current debt under control, avoid future debt and get on the road to being debt free. Here are some tips to be debt free.
- Rework your budget: Take a good look at your budget and see what expenses are eating up at your income. If there are a lot of frivolous expenses, such as subscriptions you don’t need, morning coffee runs, Chinese food lunch, etc. cut these types of things out and start allocating that money towards getting debt free.
- Increase your income: If your budget is not matching your income, meaning the expenses are way more than what you are bringing home, consider a way to increase your income. Maybe it’s time to look for a new job or find a part time job. If you are strapped for time, see if there is a way to make a hobby into cash! Look into selling crafts on Etsy. If you are not crafty, think of a one-time way to make extra money, such as selling household items you don’t use anymore online or having a garage sale. These moves will help you allocate more money towards paying down your debt and eventually being debt free.
- Downsize your home and limit major expenses: Many times, you fell into debt is because you are simply living beyond your means. A lot of people have a hard time with the idea to sell or move or even limit large expenses to reduce overall debt, but the best option is usually to accept that you cannot afford the lifestyle you are living and that you have to make some major changes. Downsizing your home or getting a less expensive car can help you be debt free by giving you more cash flow in your budget to allocate towards debt payments.
- Pay off credit card debt and other high interest loans: Once you have adjusted your budget and maybe even increased your income and downsized your home or car, start putting this money towards paying down debt. Make more than the minimum payments on your credit cards. Try to make multiple payments a month. If you are working on paying down a large debt such as a mortgage or student loan, try making an extra payment at the end of the year. Take any lump sum money you receive, from tax returns or birthday gifts, and apply it directly to the debts! This is the best way to start becoming debt free!
- If all else fails, seek professional help: If you are struggling to repay your debts on your own or find the process too stressful, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are many companies and non-profits that are designed to help you resolve your debts and eventually help you be debt free. The best bet is to consult a law firm that concentrates solely in debt relief, debt resolution or debt settlement. These law firms will work directly with your creditors to negotiate your unsecured debt for less than the current balance. Do your research and rely only on a company in business for a while and with an office in your local area so you can meet with them.
There are also companies that provide debt settlement work, but in the past they have been known for scams, so be careful before signing up for their debt relief services. Make sure they don’t charge any upfront fees, are able to meet with you in person for a no charge consultation and have no unresolved negative reviews online and that they are licensed properly in your State for debt settlement or debt relief programs.
If you are very tight for money, look into nonprofit organizations that will help you resolve your debts. These organizations can either work with your creditors to reduce interest rates or just with you directly to restructure your budget and help you with financial planning.
Debt relief is available to you! Being debt free might be a long shot, but these steps will start you on the path to being debt free! Try out these options and consult a professional to find out what the best debt resolution option is available to you.