17 Advice Concepts for How to Get out of Debt
Are you tired of all the articles that profess there are simple solutions to getting out of debt, but you cannot seem to find one? When you are facing debt and have income problems you do not want to hear any more talk or read any more articles that will tell you how simple it is to get out of debt. Instead you want actionable advice like the 17 advice concepts being shared below. You can take action with these steps to feel more in control of your debt and eventually find the solution you know will be right for your situation. Everyone’s situation is the same and yet different: how you entered into debt such as spending too much or losing your job or not making enough with rising costs. The reasons are the same, but there are other issues at hand like health and family. So, stop looking for the cause and start looking for the solution to your unique set of circumstances that now requires action to your debt problem.
Grab Your Credit Report - consumer.ftc.gov provides a free annual credit report from all three credit agencies. No other site you come across will be correct and can often be a scam. It takes 10 to 20 minutes for you to get the report. You can print all three or view them right in the browser window. Look for any errors you might see with regard cards you have or have had, car loans, mortgages, and other loans. If there is something incorrect print the report for safe keeping, fill out the correct dispute form, and wait for it to be removed. You can also get your FICO score through the same site, although there is a charge for it. By pulling this report you can make certain you have not been a victim of identity theft, which would make your debt troubles worse.
Clean your Slate - It might seem silly but for 20 minutes to an hour clean up. Pick a room or an area in a room that is a mess. Get the clutter out. File papers or get rid of items you have not used in three months. If you are really gung-ho then throw out anything you have not used in a month. If it is in good condition consider holding a garage sale or sending it to a shelter. By cleaning out a room it can be a symbol to cleaning out the emotions dragging at your healthy life. You can reclaim pieces of time and money if you are a savvy seller.
Brainstorm to Get a Paying Client - You have a full time job or maybe you are out of work, but either way you need to get money rolling in. What can you do to get money? Do you have the ability to help with computer training, cut grass, shovel snow, walk dogs, babysit, or consult for a smaller fee? You can use these skills. Write down the benefits of why you should work with someone like “I’ve noticed you never have time to shovel your driveway. You could have a cleanly shoveled drive by the time you leave for work and again when you come home. It will save you a hassle.” Next think of five people that could use your skills and call the one that is most likely to respond to those benefits. Just ask if they would be willing to pay a little for the help. If one does not work then move on till you find just one that will.
You have three steps that have helped you get the feeling of control back. Now it is time to tackle another area of worry: Draft your Budget. Nothing increases your debt worries more than not having a plan for where the money goes. If you have a steady job then you should be able to estimate your income accurately. Write down what your fixed expenses are and what those irregular expenses are. Is there a way you can put some of your irregular expenses in the regular column? For instance, can you sign up for an energy plan where you pay the same money each month instead of hanging on the edge of your seat each month when you have had to run the air conditioner or heater? Add in items like gifts, repairs, holidays, taxes, supplies, and other expenses like food. Round up on the expenses and round down on your income in order to give a little room. You also need to accept that failure is possible with this budget, so do not go for perfection but a little reality.
Buy a Notebook and Write Down What you Spent - What did you spend in a day? If you do not know or guess, then you need to get a notebook and write it down. Try this for a week. I bet at the end of the day with the receipts you have and the notebook, you will be astonished at how a few dollars for coffee here and there with a little snack or quick gift purchase add up. You could be spending $50 in a day that is unnecessary. What would you do if you had an extra $50 and debts piling up?
Use Envelopes for Cash - Instead of using credit or debit cards have cash in envelopes. Mark these as food, clothing, and entertainment. This is the amount you can spend in one month on these expenses. You cannot add more cash or attempt to switch cash from another envelope if you overspend. The first time you go to the store without enough food cash you will understand why it is important to stick with your budget and work to get out of debt.
Start a Month List - This list will be for 30 days in which you write down impulse desires like wanting a new iPad, tablet, purse, or subscription. You will add to this list and put the date beside it. After 30 days go back over and decide what you truly need. In less than 30 days you will realize that you do not need it and begin to put things on the list that you truly want.
Cancel your Cable or Satellite - Do you know how much you spend each month on this subscription? If you are like most people it is close to $100 to $200. If you spend $100 per month that is $1200 a year on TV. That is $1200 a year you could put towards your debts. If you cannot get rid of the subscription altogether what is the barest package the company offers and can you pair it with internet? You could spend $48 a month for cable and Internet. You can also catch your favorite shows from the net. Most channels broadcast for free without a subscription except things like TNT and TBS. Even then you have things like Hulu. You can save money just like how you spend $50 or more in a day on unnecessary purchases.
Walk into a Bank and Open an Account - This new account will be a savings account you can transfer money into each month. If you do not want to automatic transfer see if their rules will allow a deposit of a certain amount per month to waive the monthly fees. If you cannot waive the fees, then see about getting a piggy bank you cannot open. The idea is to put an emergency fund together that is not readily available. Commit to a certain amount per month. For instance take that $50 from before and put it towards an emergency fund. This won’t help you get out of debt, but it will put savings away that could be used for a lump sum settlement later or be used in an emergency instead of adding more debt to your credit cards.
Call up your Credit Card Company - You can also call the cable company or some other service you have. Negotiate for their service. Politely ask for a lower interest rate, a discount for being such a wonderful customer for the last few years, or whatever you can get like an insurance discount. The worst thing that can happen is they refuse; the best is that you actually save money and can put that towards your debt.
Cancel Unused Credit Cards - You can do this a couple of ways. You can transfer to one card all or most of your debt and cancel the others or you can cancel the one you have yet to use. Cancel and get the confirmation code. Then check in 60 days that it has been canceled. In this situation you do not have the temptation to add to your debt anymore. If all cards are maxed out that you have left open you are more inclined to start paying them off and get your debts to a manageable level.
Find a Personal Finance Book - Go to the library and see what personal finance book inspires you the most. If you cannot find one see if a friend or coworker has one that you can borrow. If you need to, find a book and order it. Read three chapters all at once. Take notes on what you have read. Is there anything that applies? Is there anything that you learned? Keep reading the book three chapters at a time until you have finished it. It will inspire you to get out of debt.
Write a letter to Yourself - How is this a way to get out of debt? I know that is what you are thinking, but just remember that you need to forgive yourself for the debt you are in. Writing things out allows you to put your feelings and frustrations out for you to see. Put the letter in an envelope and then the next day, rip it to shreds. You will feel better and it is a safe way to get that guilty feeling gone. Sometimes getting out of debt is not about finding money or debt relief solutions. Sometimes it is about making yourself healthier.
Update your Resume - Your income not making the monthly debt horrors better? Well then, update your resume and apply for a new job. Take action. That is the theme here for getting out of debt. The only way you can get out of debt is to take action and if that means trying for a new job with better income then that will help you get out of debt.
The Big Why - You have reached the point in which you need to have a big why that you should not spend more money than you have on things that only clutter your home. The first thing to do is figure out what that is. What is the goal you want to reach? You are here because you want to be out of debt thus your big why is to get out of debt.
Get Your Credit and Debit Cards Out of your Wallet/Purse - Create a sleeve for each of your remaining credit cards and debit cards. On that sleeve write in giant letters TO GET OUT OF DEBT. Now, each time you pull your card out of your purse or wallet you have to see that and rethink the purchase you are about to make that will increase your debt rather than get you out of it.
Seek a Debt Relief Expert - Have you done at least one thing from the list above? Have you followed all of the suggestions? You might be in a situation that some of these suggestions have been done or you did not obtain enough money to get you out of debt. That is okay because when you hit the point that you are in control, you are healthy, and you are finally taking action then you can take the ultimate step to find the right debt relief solution for you. You can now decide if settlement, consolidation, or bankruptcy is the answer to your financial squeeze.
The key is that if you can find money that helps you get out of your debt obligations you should go for it, and if you cannot then take that final step that gives you a clean slate. You have 16 steps that will keep your financial slate clean after bankruptcy if that is the only answer to getting out of debt. You also have two other debt relief options along with new money management ideas to alleviate your debts in a timely manner if you find you just overspend your income on nonsensical things.