Personal debt is becoming an increasing problem in this country. More and more families are finding themselves falling deeper and deeper into debt. This vicious cycle will continue unless you take purposeful action to control and reduce your debt.
The first step (and most important) is to acknowledge that you do have debt issues. This may sound obvious but most people find it easier to ignore their problems and continue down the slippery slope called debt. Start by acknowledging your debt problems and make a promise to yourself to address them head-on. With this commitment to change, you have taking the most important step towards getting out of debt.
The next step is to catalog all your debt. Write down every credit card, loan, etc. along with the owed balance onto a single piece of paper. You need to know what you owe and to whom so that you can get the “big-picture” of your debt. It may also be helpful to record the interest rates of your credit cards and loans. Again, the goal of this exercises it to get a solid understanding of your debt situation.
Now that you have an accurate picture of your debt it is time to strategize on how to reduce said debt.
1. Put yourself on a budget. Stop spending! Most of us live beyond our means and actually only need a sub-set of what we think we need. Determine what your bottom-line needs are? For example, rent or mortgage, food, school, insurance. Now determine what you don’t actually need to survive. Now stop spending money on the things that are not bottom-line needs.
2. Consolidate your Credit Card debt onto a low interest rate card. There are many credit card companies offering reduced interest rates for the first year. By transferring all your existing credit card debt to a new, low interest, card you reduce your monthly payments.
3. Contact a credit counseling service. A credit counselor will assist you formulate a long-term plan to pay off your debt. There are generally two types of agencies – fee based and non-profit. You should contact the National Foundation Consumer Credit (NFCC) to find registered non-profit agencies at 800-388-2227.
Note: We highly recommend that you contact debt management experts to help on the road of debt reduction.