You have debt. Most people have debt. Accept it. Don’t let debt get you down, let it get you going! Avoid your debt and simply “not dealing with it” is not going to help your situation. In fact, it’s likely costing you more money. The longer your debt sits, the more expensive it becomes – thanks to interest. The CGS Team is sharing some of the best ways to tackle your debt head on and get rid of it once and for all. It may require sacrifice, but it will all be worth it.
#1 Save $1000 for emergencies
You’re probably thinking, “save before paying off my debt?” Yes! Imagine this scenario: you have a budget that shows after all of your bills and living expenses, you can put $500 a month towards debt. Now you are making $500 monthly debt payments. Two months in, your car breaks down and you need a new transmission costing $825. Not only will this cost suck up your $500 debt payment amount, but you will still be $325 short. You resort to putting $325 on your credit card.
You just set yourself back over a month. If you had that $1000 emergency fund, you wouldn’t have to worry about the transmission cost hurting your debt payments. Life has a way of always surprising us. When we are trying to pay off debt, or save, or just be good, something comes up. Saving $1000 for emergencies before tackling your debt aggressively will leave you feeling secure that you can handle a financial setback. Failing to save first may result in you racking up more debt, feeling defeated and wanting to give up. Read 5 Ways to Save $1000 Quick for some pointers on reaching that $1000 mark.
#2 Understand exactly what you owe
To tackle your debt head on, you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Make a list of every debt you currently have. This list should include any credit cards, personal loans, student loans, or lines of credit. You can leave home and auto loans off of the list. Make sure you include the following for each debt in your list:
- Creditor Name
- Total Amount of Debt Owed
- Minimum Payment Amount
- Interest Rate
- Due Date
We recommend using an electronic list (spreadsheet, tracker, etc.) so you can continually update it. Check out the Savvy Saving Woman’s Debt Reduction Kit for a guide to reducing your debt and the trackers you need to do so.
#3 Sweep your budget for areas to cut back
Before you take on your debt, do a quick sweep of your budget to see where you can cut back. Any area that isn’t a necessity should be cut back (or cut out) until your debt is paid off. You will be surprised at how much extra money you can find in cut backs to use for your debt. Also, you should think about how you can make more money to help pay off your debts. Here are a few articles to read through for some ideas on cutting back and making more money:
- 15 Ideas to Earn a Quick Buck
- 8 Things to Stop Spending Money On
- Free Cheat Sheet: 40 Ways to Cut Back
- 8 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money
#4 Snowball your debt
Now that you know exactly what you can apply to debts on a monthly basis, it’s time to attack! Attack the debt with the smallest payment with every bit of extra income you have, while paying the minimums on everything else. Once you’ve paid off the first debt, cross it off the list, take the money you’ve been putting toward it and add it to the minimum on the second debt. Repeat this process until you are out of debt!
Easier said than done, but this is one of the best ways to get rid of your debt. It may take a lot of time, depending on the balances you carry, but stick with it! Keep using any extra income towards your debt to help you pay it off faster. You will be debt free, so stay strong!
Related: DIY Debt Reduction
Debt comes with baggage, but don’t let that stop you from getting rid of it. Even if it takes some time, having a solid game plan to tackle your debt WILL make a difference. We are rooting for you! Have you paid off debt? Are you currently paying off debt? What has helped or hindered your situation? Leave a comment below to share!