11 Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Debt
When the end of the month rolls around, do you get a little anxious when you think about all of the bills you have to pay? Perhaps you’re carrying a little more debt than you’d like, and you’re not exactly sure how you’re going to get ahead?
You’re not alone.
As of November 2020, Americans carried an average personal debt of $92,727, according to Bankrate.com. Auto loans, personal loans, and credit card debt are all part of that number – and if you’re in debt – you know it can feel overwhelming.
But you can work to reduce or eliminate your debt – with some work.
- Get All Loans and Bills Organized: The first thing you want to do is get ALL of your loans and bills organized – no matter how big or small they are. Gather them up and create a comprehensive list of what you owe and to who.
- Make a Budget: Then create a budget. A budget will help you take control of your money and give you a clear picture of where you stand. U.S. News and World Report put together a list of “The Best Free Budgeting Tools” that you can use to make it easier.
- Of course, once your budget is created – you’ve got to stick to it!
- Prioritize Your Debt: Take a look at all of your debt. Is there debt where you’re paying a higher interest rate than all of the rest? Do you want to pay off your student loans? How about your car loan? Prioritize your debt so that you have a real plan for paying it down.
- Pay More Than the Minimum: It can be tempting to just pay the minimum amount each month, but, unfortunately, that’s not going to help you get ahead. Aim to pay more than the minimum – even if it’s just a few extra dollars – so that you can reduce your debt quicker.
- Refinance Debt: If you have a fair amount of debt, you might consider refinancing it. You could look for a lender who will help you condense your debt down to one payment – sometimes at a lower interest rate – and
- Commit to Using “Extra” Money Towards Debt: At certain times throughout the year, such as holidays or birthdays, you might receive a little extra cash. Commit to using this “extra” money towards your debt.
- Negotiate Debt: You’ve heard the expression, “It never hurts to ask.” Well, when it comes to your debt, it never hurts to ask your creditors if they’d be willing to negotiate with you. Call them and see if they can lower their interest rates.
- Stop Using Credit: Yes, it’s so easy to grab your credit card and swipe – but now is the time to stop using credit. Put yourself into cash-only mode and leave your credit cards at home. This will prevent you from racking up additional debt.
- Increase Your Income: It may be time to think of ways that you can increase your income. You might consider asking for a raise at work, searching for a new job, or finding a side hustle to bring in some additional money. Then make a commitment to use your newfound income to pay off your debt.
- Talk with a Credit Counselor: If you’re really struggling with your debt and not quite sure what to do. Reach out to a credit counselor. They can offer you advice as to what will be your best option moving forward.
- Track Your Progress: As you work to reduce and eliminate your debt, keep track of your progress. It may be slow and steady, but even baby steps are progress.
With slow and steady progress, you can get yourself out of debt. Use these tips to help you do it!