Sure it isn’t too bad when you are out with your friends on that shopping spree and decide to buy that $100 jacket, or you are in the electronics section and just have to buy that new flat screen TV. “I’ll just put it on my credit card, and pay it off later” you tell yourself.
Then, one month down the road, you are hammered with a massive credit card bill, and no way to pay it off. You just keep doing balance transfer upon balance transfer. It will ultimately go away somehow, right? WRONG!
This is just the typical case that I get approached with time after time, and people want to know what to do. Well, the simple answer is that they need to fix the underlying problem, which is to get a grip on their debt. But I want to give you some tools that I have used successfully in the past.
These are 5 great ways to help you step out of debt, and get control of your spending problems.
1. Look to downsizing your living situation.
If you are single or own a house, look to get a roommate. Your household expenses will instantly be cut in half, and you can start chipping away at that unwanted debt.
2. Make a money diary.
I often recommend this to my patients that are having trouble losing weight, that is to have a diary of some sorts. They can see exactly what they are putting into their mouth. It is written down in cold, hard ink. In this case, I suggest a money diary. If you write down everything that you spend money on in a week’s time, you will be astonished at how much money you waste on stupid stuff, such as eating out 4x/week. Write it down, look at it, and start thinking of where you can cut expenses. I can promise this one little exercise will be a very eye openning experience.
3. Have bills paid automatically
I know that we all have busy lives, but the Internet these days can assist us in getting our important tasks completed quickly and efficiently…with one very important task being PAYING OUR BILLS ON TIME! If you are able to set up automatic bill pay through your bank online, you won’t have to worry about getting hit with late fees, which only digs you deeper into the debt pit. Also, this will help you avoid any chance at ruining your credit score.
4. Get a second job
I hate to admit it, but if money problems are really bad for you, a second job may be a short term solution. I like this idea for two reasons. One, if you are already cutting wasteful expenses that you noticed from your money diary, this will only help in getting you out of the debt pit faster. Two, if you are working and making money in your “free” time, you won’t be having the time to spend all of your hard earned cash. Therefore, your bank account will grow and your debt will not.
5. Make your analysis sytematic
Now that you hopefully are on your way to cleaning up your debt issues, don’t let it happen again. Make periodic or systematic money/financial checks on your current situation. Some banks have free financial assessments or will give you a free consultation with a financial advisor. I highly recommend doing this because it will give you an objective 3rd party view of how you spend your money.
Ok folks, that’s about it. I know that many of these are just brief descriptions, but they are some basic tools that you can use to help you get out of debt. Once you learn the basics, the advanced stuff is even more fun. Until next time…..
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