The following tips are designed to help you reduce your debt quickly and economically, and help you establish and/or grow your personal savings.
1. Create a budget and stick with it
Your budget should include all of your current expenses. Print the Personal Budget Planner Worksheet (link to pdf download) to assist you in creating a budget.
2. Don’t borrow additional money to pay off debts and/or bills
Recording each transaction in your checkbook register and adding or subtracting it from the balance is the first step to simplifying the balancing act.
3. Cut expenses
Analyze your budget and determine where reductions can be made (e.g. eating out, buying snacks and lunch at work, going to the movies, etc.). Once you have determined how much you plan to cut, use this “found” money to pay down the balances on your debts.
4. Optimize your monthly payments
Pay the maximum amount towards your highest interest rate debts. Pay the minimum amount on all other debts.
5. Ask for reduced interest rates
Some creditors, especially credit card companies, will reduce your interest rates if you just call and ask. If you receive offers for other cards with lower interest rates in the mail, use those offers as leverage when you are re-negotiating your rates with your current creditors.
6. Set goals and priorities
Determine what’s important. When you prepare to buy something, ask yourself if this purchase is in line with the priorities you have set and will it help you reach your goal or delay it.
7. Visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling
This is the home site for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a national non-profit network of 1,450 member agencies designed to provide assistance to people dealing with stressful financial situations. The site provides links and information for financial counseling, debt planner tools, and other helpful websites.