Most of us nowadays have several monthly bills to keep on top of. It can be difficult to keep track of your different debts, making sure that you not only meet the minimum payments, but also pay the debts off in the most efficient way, making the best use of your available funds.
There is a host of software options available for purchase, online or in stores, to help you manage your finances, some of them tailored particularly to managing your debts.
The first thing you need to do if you’re going to get your debts under control is open your eyes to the reality of them. Many people find the thought of their debts so stressful that they try not to think too much about them, but this is not the way to get rid of them.
If you’re like most of us, you’ll be alarmed to find that the minimum payments you make sure you pay each month may not even be reducing the amount of your debts. Particularly with credit cards, you’ll often find that paying the minimum amount only covers interest, so the debt doesn’t actually get any smaller, despite being paid towards every month.
There’s no way around it, if you’re going to clear your debts you need to budget effectively and cut back where at all possible. Work out a proper budget and cut back on spending wherever you can, figuring out what you can pay towards your debts in total each month.
Once you’ve figured out what you can pay each month, split this up in terms of the minimum payments that you must make towards each debt. Pay whatever is left towards the debts with the highest rates of interest, so that you’ll get rid of these first. Once these are paid work your way down the list, paying off the costliest debts in turn.
It may seem harsh, but if you’re going to clear your debts, you’ll really need to avoid obtaining any more credit. As well as making it more feasible that you’ll clear your existing debts, this will help you to get into better spending habits, and hopefully make you less likely to find yourself in a difficult position in the future.
If you have multiple debts, it might be worth looking at consolidation options, but take care to work these out properly before agreeing to anything.
Balance transfers and loans used to consolidate your debts can be useful if you choose wisely, but at worst can make your situation a lot worse. Take time to do your sums and make sure that shifting your debts around is genuinely going to help in both the long and short term before making any decisions.
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