It feels good to get that first credit card. You can finally get anything you want. However, it’s too easy to use cards like cash and before we know it, the limit is reached. Then comes the offer to roll that balance into another card with a larger limit. This frees up the first one, plus you now have room on the second one. But then, before you know it…
If this sounds all too familiar, don’t worry; it can be reversed. Here are some simple ways to build your budget and get out of debt.
Wanna Stay Out Of Debt? Here’s How to Build Your Budget To Do ‘Just’ That
Start with a List
It’s easier to create a plan when everything is in front of you. Make a list of all of your debts, specifically noting the monthly payments and the outstanding balances.
Lower Your Interest Rates
If your credit score is good, you might be able to get a consolidation loan. This has the advantage of rolling everything into one payment at a lower interest rate. If this won’t work, get in touch with your card issuers and ask for a rate reduction. This will make the money you have go farther toward clearing your debt.
Assess Your Situation
Once you’ve listed of all your debts and gotten your interest rates reduced as much as possible, total up the monthly amount you’ll need to pay everything off in three years. Add to this figure your rent, utilities, phone, internet and all other recurring expenses. If the total is less than your monthly income, you’re in good shape.
If it’s more than you make, you’re going to need to figure out how to earn additional money. If this isn’t feasible, you’ll need to work with a credit-counseling agency, debt relief program, or declare bankruptcy. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately though, your choice here will depend upon your specific situation.
If you owe less than you make, you can use the snowball method of debt elimination. List all of your debts in order from highest to lowest. Calculate the minimum payment on all of them. If you’ve been paying more than the minimum amount on each one, stop doing so on all but the one with the lowest balance. Make minimum payments on all of the others and add the difference to the payment you were previously making on the one with the lowest balance. Continue until it is paid off and apply the strategy to the next smallest one. Keep working your way up until you’ve paid them all.
Once you’ve cleared up the debts, save the money you were using to pay them off, rather than going out and buying more stuff. Create a buffer fund, so if an emergency arises you can deal with it in cash rather than going into debt.
Enact a Spending Freeze
While you’re paying off the cards, or working through the credit counseling or settlement plan, limit purchases only to the necessities; rent, food, fuel, utilities, and etc. No new clothes, no dinners out, no new toys nor treats whatsoever. Let the dwindling balances be your reward. And, whatever you do, don’t use the cards again as you pay them off—you’ll only dig a new hole for yourself.
These simple ways to build your budget and get out of debt will help you get your financial situation back on the straight and narrow. If you find debt settlement is the way to go, do your research to help you decide which company to use.
Yes, it isn’t simple and it does take some time to do. But with diligence and careful planning you can get your finances back on track within three years. Though, it may cost you some sleepless night filled with calculations, or you may have to fork out some cash to get professional help. But at the end of the day, if you decide to build your budget, it would all be worth the sacrifice than not to.