Simple Steps to Reduce Your Debt

Most of us are familiar with debt, whether it is a few hundred dollars on a credit card, or mountains of debt that offer little hope of paying off. Whether you owe a little or a lot, reducing or eliminating debt will set you on a path to financial freedom. The earlier in life you begin, the brighter your future will look. Here are some simple steps to reduce your debt.

The first step in managing debt is to get an honest idea of how much you owe. Use a note-book or simple computer spreadsheet to list all your debts. Include everything, including credit card debt, car payments, student loans, alimony and child support. Don’t leave anything out. Add it all up for a realistic look at your over-all debt situation.

How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates & Reduce Your Debt

Reduce Your DebtNext steps to reduce your debt, go to your creditors and try to negotiate lower interest rates. This may not be possible with mortgages or car loans, but many times, credit card companies will work with you if you explain your financial problems, and offer an interest reduction. You can also take advantage of offers to transfer existing balances to a low-interest credit card. Some even offer zero percent interest for up to a year on balance transfers. This will save you money and get all of your credit card debt lumped together, so that you only have one monthly payment.

It is vital that you create a budget and stick to it faithfully! A common mistake for most people is over-spending and impulse buying. If it’s not in your budget, don’t buy it! It’s as simple as that. Keep an emergency savings account, if possible, for unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs. This way, they don’t come out of your monthly budget. A budget can give you great peace of mind!

Form a workable pay-off strategy to rid yourself of as much debt as possible. Revolving debt, such as credit card debt, is the first place to start, as it usually involves the highest rates of interest and finance charges. If you can put all of your credit card debt on one card, do it. Find a low-interest card, and transfer all balances to that card. This will allow you to get all the debt in one place as well as offering you one lower monthly payment. Try to add any extra funds you can to each payment in order to reduce the principal balance more quickly.

The next type of debt to work on is loans. You may have car loans, personal loans or home equity loans that incur high amounts of interest and add significantly to your overall debt. The best way to reduce this debt is to re-finance your home and pay them off. You may be able to find a new mortgage that offers a much lower interest rate as well as giving you some cash to pay off other debt. With the money you free up, try to make two extra mortgage payments per year and you can sometimes pay off your mortgage in half the time you normally would! If you are a renter, a personal loan can allow you to pay off other debt and give you a lower interest rate.

Lastly, free up as much cash as you can in order to reduce your debt load a little each month. Cut out needless expenses, such as fast food, expensive coffee drinks and brand name groceries. Don’t be afraid to use coupons! You may be surprised that you can save hundreds of dollars each month just by living a little leaner. Then, put these savings toward your higher interest debt, and get it paid off. Then, move on to debts with lower interest. Soon, you can be debt-free!

Once you have eliminated your debt, you will have to work hard and not give in to the temptation to incur new debt. Ideally, you will put the money you used to waste on high-interest debt into a savings account. You will have extra funds for emergencies and you should try to use cash for most purchases. However, remember to keep one credit card open and pay it off each month, as potential lenders look at your ability to manage debt, and you may need your good credit to qualify for a large purchase, such as a home loan, someday.

Reduce your debt may seem simple, but it takes hard work and dedication to make it happen. You may have to live without luxuries for a while, but the end result will be well worth it! Start today, and you will be able to enjoy a debt-free future!