If you’re drowning in debt, you’re not alone. Lots of people are in the same boat. That’s the bad news. The Good news is that there is a way out. And, you don’t have to be a financial wizard to figure it out. Here’s what savvy financial experts and successful individuals have done to crush debt and build up their savings.
Build A Budget
This is step one. Without a budget, you can’t do anything. According to a bankruptcy Attorney in Dayton, this can mean the difference between getting out of debt and filing for bankruptcy. Start by listing your income from every source. Then, list your fixed expenses. These are expenses that recur every month. For example, insurance and mortgage payments happen every month.
List them all out.
Things that vary each month include groceries, entertainment, and clothing expenses. You will always eat, but you may not eat the same thing each and every month. So, while it’s a regular expense, it varies each month based on what you stock up on in your pantry and fridge.
Today, apps make this pretty easy. You can sign up for a free service like Mint.com or Moven, and it will calculate your expenses and itemize them for you.
Contacting Your Creditors
Contact any creditors you have and see if you can get lower payments or interest rates — especially if you’re having trouble paying your bills now. Tell them why it’s difficult for you and try to work out a modified plan that will reduce your payments to something a little more manageable. Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to collections. By that time, it’s too late.
Dealing with Debt Collectors
If the inevitable happened, and you’re now facing debt collectors, here’s what to do: Federal law dictates how and when a debt collectors must contact you. Always deal with them directly. Never avoid them.
This is pretty much the opposite of how most people deal with debt collectors. If you have a debt you legally owe, you must pay it. With that said, you should not accept abuse from a debt collectors. If they call you before 8AM or after 9PM, then you should report them. They also cannot call you at work and harass you. Collectors cannot harass you, lie, or use unfair practices to collect a debt.
How to Manage Your Auto And Home Loan
Your debts can be either secured or unsecured. Secured debts are usually tied to a major asset, like your car or a house. If you stop making the payments, the lender repossesses the asset. For example, if you have a mortgage, and you stop making payments on your home, the bank repossesses the house — called foreclosure. The same thing happens if you fail to pay your auto loan.
Of course the simplest way to keep your home or car is to prioritize the monthly payments and make sure they’re paid on time.
While it’s not easy to get started, once you do it tends to be easy to maintain. People who start a budget, and stick with it, tend to see the best results. And, the longer you have been budgeting, the easier it gets. If you’re not used to that habit, it can seem “impossible.” But, give it time. And, before you know it, you’ll be out of debt and on your way to saving money.
Hannah Fraser has worked in jobs on both sides of debt; first as a debt collector, then later retraining to become a debt counselor. Her useful and informative articles and tips can be found around the web.