At the beginning of 2018, 53% of Americans indicated debt reduction as their top priority.
Unlike what many of you believe, debt isn’t always associated with careless spending and living beyond one’s means. Even those who swore never to use a credit card or get a loan, end up doing that.
Most debt stories come from unexpected significant expenses that were unavoidable. This could include illnesses, calamities, student loans, and mortgages, among others.
Sometimes we decide to get a loan to start a business so we can make more money to feed our families. Sadly, debt always seems to procreate in some way, and you find yourself at a point of no return.
Is there a better feeling than being debt-free? If you’re currently in debt, don’t lose hope. Here’s how to pay your debt and stay debt free.
Organize Your Debts
There are many ways to prioritize your debts. One of them is in ascending order. This method helps you get rid of debt from the smallest (most manageable) to the largest.
With the snowballing approach, you’ll see progress sooner; hence, you’ll get motivated to finish other debts.
The other method is to layout your debts as per priority. Priority is based on:
- Interest rate / APR
- Payment deadline
- Current total amount
- Minimum payment
- Consequences of missing payment
You may want first to clear off a loan with a high-interest rate. This is to avoid the accumulation of interest, which further increases your debt amount. If a payment’s due date is close, you can also prioritize that loan to avoid further penalties.
Your current loan amount might be payable in one sitting. It’s not worth adding interest to it. The best way to rank your loans is by checking the terms and conditions offered by your lender.
If the terms are favorable enough to spread them throughout a certain period, then do so. If your loan terms are as bad as unlimited liability where lenders can come for your belongings, pay those first. Also, avoid such strangling loans!
Try to Negotiate with Your Lenders
Once you line up your debts and realize so many of them are principal payments, you can approach your lenders for negotiation. The lender might decide to:
- Reduce your interest rate in exchange for a higher monthly pay
- Reduce your minimum payments in exchange to higher interest rate
- Reduce your payment duration in exchange for whatever else
Before approaching a lender, go through their loan policies. With such knowledge, you can come up with a win-win solution that’ll ease your loan payment. When approaching the lender, show them that you’re open to any solutions.
For credit cards, you can try balance transfer. There are several balance transfers out there that can give you affordable offers — some as good as 0% APR for 15 months or more.
A 0% APR deal might incur you some transfer fees for the privilege. Other corporations might offer you zero interest if you pay them within 30 to 60 days or so. You can also choose debt consolidation to ease your loan payment.
Cut Down on Your Expenses
How much do you spend a month? What do you spend each month? Write them down, each item with its cost, from bills to shopping and luxury expenses.
It helps to note down everything you purchase and keep receipts for most of your luxury expenditures. If you count the amount you spend a whole month on junk, partying, and other luxury expenses, you’d cry.
It’s easy to spend when we’re not tracking our expenditure. So start monitoring. This is the first step to being conscious of what you spend.
Here are four things you should stop buying:
- Items that are more of a want than a need
- Expensive items with excellent and affordable substitutes
- Different flavors or shades of one product
- Expensive items that require you to take off money from another budget
Every cent you save, use it to pay your debt. You shouldn’t be spending on vacations when you haven’t paid your debts. Change your luxurious lifestyle into something you can afford.
Run a Yard Sale
Whether on your yard or eBay, items you no longer use can help pay your debts. Sell them all!
We all have a hoarder within our souls. Looking to save that vase we bought a hundred years ago.
What good will these items do when we end up with so much debt that we can’t even pay our rent or buy food? If you have two tables, sell one. Don’t look for reasons to keep these items.
There’s something about money and the human mind. When we come into contact with some change, we feel the need to spend it on something. To avoid such, once you’re done selling all your items, immediately get rid of one of the debts.
Don’t worry, once you’re debt-free you can buy other items and make new memories.
Get a Side Hustle
Whether you’re in school or working, you can always get a side hustle to make extra cash. If your current job pays you peanuts, you can dedicate your side hustle to funding the loan payment.
One thing about paying debts is that it’ll squeeze all your time. However, the feeling of living a debt-free life is worth this sacrifice.
Once you’re done paying your debts, keep the side hustle. The amount you make from this, save it for future emergencies.
Pay Above the Minimum
Sometimes you may receive something known as found money. Found money is money you didn’t expect or plan to get.
You may receive money as a birthday gift, a bonus at work, or a tax refund. Spend all these extra cash on paying your debts.
If the least payment amount is $50, but you receive a cash incentive of $100, pay above $50. Many would pay $50 and waste the rest. Forget burgers and be excited that someone brought you closer to clearing your debts.
Even when you complete your monthly payment, any extra cash you make before the month ends should still contribute to paying that debt.
Pay your Debt and Stay Debt Free
The ultimate method to successfully pay your debt is by outlining a strategy. Your debt amounts versus your income. Have a plan for paying each cent and achieving it will be much easier.
It takes sacrifice and discipline to complete a debt. Once you do, it’ll take more of these virtues to save money, so you never borrow a loan again.
Would you like to earn more money to double your savings? Check out our post on making quick money.