For many of us, life expenses are one thing after another. Take my own personal circumstances, for example. Earlier this year, in time between January and March, I attended two weddings, one birthday party, one housewarming, had to stay overnight in a hotel to visit an old university friend, and on top of all that, my car broke down and I had to pay the nice people at the local car garage what was left of my money to fix the part that went wrong. Money comes in, money goes out. Often, loans and credit cards are the only way to keep up. And that means debt.
Getting out of debt isn’t easy (see Creditfix.co.uk for more details). But with the right plan, it’s doable. Let’s look at how you could start to find your way out of debt.
It’s time to pay more than the minimum payment
Debt can go on and on and on, with seemingly no end in sight. If you’re serious about getting out of debt, the first thing you need to do is come to terms with the fact that paying off the minimum payment each month is the slowest possible solution. Everybody hates monthly payments. We work all month and watch our hard earned cash get gobbled up by monthly credit card bills and loan repayments. The only way to speed the process up is to pay your debt off faster – which may be easier said than done, so, let’s look at ways to achieve this goal of paying off our debt faster.
Plan your money – and spend even less than your budget
Step one is to sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper. You need to write down your monthly total income, and your monthly outgoing expenditure. Include everything. From the relatively small cost of streaming services to the larger costs of rent/mortgage, car payments, and travel expenses (i.e. the costs of commuting). This will leave you a monthly amount of cash in your pocket. We’ll call that your budget. The aim is to spend less than your budget. You can do this by switching to own-brand goods, saying no to nights out, and by putting the brakes on any other unnecessary expenditure like clothes. But wait, there’s one more tip…
Cancel all non-essential payments
When you have written down your complete outgoings, you may notice that many of the things you’re paying for each month aren’t exactly what somebody who is trying to save their money to get out of debt might consider to be ‘essential’. Look at your phone bill. Are you paying for services you don’t really need? Look at your memberships to things like streaming services and the gym. Do you need a movie streaming service that hasn’t introduced anything worth watching in two months? Can you learn to survive without your online music playlists? Is your solitary 33 minute trip to the gym each Sunday doing anything but cost needless cash when you could just as easily work out at home?
The choice is yours, but your debt isn’t going away, and there are smart decisions you could be making today.