Saturday, October 29, 2011

Five Simple Ways to Get Out of Debt

Debt can be overwhelming, especially when we’ve taken on too much of it. It looms over our heads, overshadowing everything else at times. Getting into debt has become easier than it once was, and one of the results is more people who have trouble making ends meet.

It may seem impossible to get out of debt. But if the problem is recognized early on, it can be fairly simple to do so. If you have financial problems, here are five ways you can eliminate your debt and get your finances back where they should be.

1. Pay more than the minimum payments. Ideally, we should pay off our credit card balances every month, but sometimes we don’t or can’t. Paying more than just the minimum payment will allow us to pay off our debts much faster. It also has the potential to save us a lot of money, because the quicker we pay credit cards off, the less interest accrues.
This also holds true for mortgages, car loans, and any other type of loan. Some loans have prepayment penalties, but it’s best to avoid them anyway. For any loan that doesn’t, paying it off early is a good thing.

2. Cut back on your expenses, and put the extra money toward paying down your debt. If you examine your budget closely enough, you will likely find many areas where you could save money. Just taking your lunch to work instead of eating out can save you a substantial amount.

3. Sell things you don’t need. Do you have an extra vehicle, or anything else of value that you don’t use or need? Even just gathering up some things and having a yard sale could help you raise money to put toward your monthly payments. Every little bit helps.

4. Find ways to make extra money. You could take on a second job, do some babysitting, or sign up with a direct sales company. If you put all of your extra money toward paying off your debts, you shouldn’t need to do this for very long.

5. Consolidate your debts, but do so wisely. The best way to do this is to transfer all of your balances to a low-interest credit card. That will usually result in lower minimums, but keep on paying as much as you can to get the debt paid off. Avoid using home equity loans or other secured loans to consolidate if possible, because that will put your property at risk unnecessarily.

Getting out of debt may be easier than you think. Often a few minor adjustments are all that’s needed to eradicate a debt problem, especially if it is attended to early on. Then you can learn from your mistakes and keep your debt manageable.

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