Many of us have been in the situation where one or two debts seem to have turned into a mountain of different bills and it seems impossible that any of it will ever be paid off. When faced with debt that you no longer feel in control of, or that you feel is hanging over you, it’s well worth coming up with a strategy to get it paid off.
Often, particularly with credit card bills, you can find yourself just focussing on meeting the minimum payment each month, rather than on paying back the debt itself. In many cases, if you have substantial enough debt on your credit card, you will only be paying back interest if you manage only the minimum amount, meaning that you’re not actually reducing the debt at all, despite paying towards it each month. This in itself is frustrating but thinking about it may inspire you to come up with a proper plan to pay your debts off.
Many of us find the thought of our debts so stressful that we try not to think about the amount that we owe, opting instead to meet the monthly bills and carry on in ignorance. If you’re going to have a realistic chance of paying your debts off, the first thing you need to do is take a good, honest look at your debts, and work out how much you do actually owe to the different lenders.
You next need to shift your focus from meeting the minimum monthly bills, to paying the debt off over a period of time. There are several things that will help you to do this.
Shop around for different lenders, particularly with credit cards, you may well find a good deal for transferring your balance to an account with a lower interest rate. However, make sure you check the terms and conditions thoroughly and that the interest rate isn’t only good for a limited period of time, for example.
Avoid getting into more debt if possible, thinking seriously before increasing your credit even further. This includes using your credit card for purchases, you really need to try and change your spending habits if you want to get rid of the debt. It’s much easier to focus on working toward paying off a set amount than an ever-changing amount.
Try as far as possible to pay more than the minimum payment towards your debt each month, preferably so that you’re payment covers more than just interest, so that the total debt gets a little smaller each time you make a payment.
If you have savings, it may be worth using part of them to pay at least some of your debt off, after all any interest you are gaining from them is probably being lost in the interest for your debts.
A payment plan is something that a lot of people find helpful. Even if you only manage to reduce the debt by a little each month, you will feel you’re moving towards it being gone, which is motivating in itself.
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