Getting Out of Debt
(NewsUSA) - Sponsored Content - Debt can be a crushing burden in the best of times. And right now, with more uncertainty in the world than we have ever experienced, it can be more terrifying than normal.
Perhaps you've lost your job, you've gotten sick, or you had to stay home to take care of your kids and now you are in debt (or more in debt than you were before.) What do you do now? Many people are dealing with the same issues, but you can take steps to fix it.
First, write down your budget. Having a clear idea of what money is coming in and what money is going out is a huge step in getting out of debt. Be thorough. It is easy to overlook small expenses that add up over time or underestimate what you are spending on groceries or entertainment activities.
Second, look at your spending and think about expenses you can reduce. If you are spending more than you're making, you may need to cut costs to make your rent or mortgage payment. Look at such things as coffee shops when considering your wants versus needs. That said, it's also paramount to build small "treats" into your budget so you're not constantly feeling as if you're depriving yourself.
Third, give priority to your secured debt. Secured debt is something such as a mortgage or car loan where there is property used as collateral. After secured debt comes interest-bearing unsecured debt such as a store credit card and finally, debt without interest, such as medical bills. All of your debt is important to pay, but prioritizing will help you come up with a plan, such as the debt snowball method.
The debt snowball method is a popular method of paying down debt. If, for instance, you have three credit cards with payments of $50, $100, and $150, stop using the cards altogether so you aren't building up the balances. Keep making the same payments even as the minimum goes down. If the $50 payment card is paid off first, take that $50 and add it to the payment for the account with the highest interest rate to get it paid off faster. Instead of paying $100, you are now paying $150. Once that account is paid off, apply that $150 extra towards the final card payment and you will be out of debt far sooner than you would be normally.
For tips on budgeting, saving, talking to kids about money, and even a basic course in personal finance, visit https://www.familycredit.org/resources. Family Credit Management is a non-profit credit counseling agency that has 25 years of experience in helping people get out of debt. So if you would like to talk to someone about your debt, feel free to reach out to one of their experts for a free, no-obligation consultation.