So, you’ve made the decision to finally, once and for all, get rid of that debt. Congratulations are in order; that’s a great first step. You had tried it in the past, but in fits and spurts, before realizing that you didn’t really have a feel for what you were doing. You now understand that developing a plan for getting out of debt often calls for a full-on approach that covers a lot of ground. Here are some suggestions.
Figure Out How Much You Owe
You want to possess a clear picture in you mind of how much you owe. You want to have a specific target. Pull together all your bank statements and other documents, then list your balances and interest rate for each.
Figure Out What You’re Spending On
While you’re at it, you simply must learn how much you’re spending, and what you’re spending it on. That morning drive-thru java? Adds up. Same thing with all those “lunch specials.” Chances are you’ll find places where you can cut back.
You may want to use a program or app to help you keep track of and improve your spending habits.
Establish a Budget
Now that you have a clear picture of your spending ways and have identified things you can cut out, you should establish a budget for each month, making sure to meet your obligations as well as to put money aside for savings or investments. Do leave room in your budget, though, for some “wants” so that you will stick to it.
Change Your Mindset
You’ve already done the most important thing, and that’s to set in your mind your desire to be debt free. What follows will be an aversion to overspending, because you understand full well got you in trouble to begin with.
Cease with the Credit Cards
If you’re serious about getting out of debt and staying there, you’ve got to reserve your plastic only for situations in which no cash is available, and even then, use it for needs instead of wants. This underscores the importance of having an emergency fund of at least $1,000 for starters so that you’re not swiping the plastic for every unexpected event.
If you’re already in over your head with credit card debt you may need a debt resolution program. Freedom Debt Relief, for example, has leading debt relief programs that can result in your paying less than what you owe to settle your obligations.
Drop Those Unused Subscriptions
If you’re like most people, you’re getting a few automatic payments taken from your bank account each month. A few dollars here, a couple more there, but any amount is too much if you’re not using the goods or services. These commonly include subscriptions like Spotify, Apple Music, and even Planet Fitness. Cut them off if you aren’t using them. They, too, add up.
Eat in More
You’ve got to cut way back on if not eliminate dining out while you’re trying to eliminate debt. Perhaps once every two weeks or so is doable, and once a month is even better. It may be okay to occasionally reward yourself – moderately -- for tightening your belt.
Get Those Bills Slashed
Calmly and politely inform your cable company that unless you’re permitted to rework your payment plan, you’re probably going to have to drop them. Do the same with your phone company. People have more options now, so the old take-it-or-leave-it attitudes that once were pervasive in these industries are no more. These companies want to keep your business, particularly if you’re a long-time customer.
Ultimately, developing a plan for getting out of debt can often mean a comprehensive attack from every angle. Choose the suggestions that work best for you.