Debt is an on-going problem for almost every American. Adding together credit cards, student loans, personal loans and other types of debt, except mortgages, the average American owes $38,000! The average amount of credit card debt alone is $6,850.
Getting out of debt and saving money is a common New Year’s resolution. If this is one of yours, you need a plan – it won’t happen magically. Let’s take a look at ways to pay down your debt and increase your savings.
Step One: Understand Where Your Money is Going
Write down every place and thing that you spend money on. Track cash as well. You might be surprised at where your money goes. Try for at least several months tracking all expenditures. The averages will give you a better picture than just one month of spending.
Step Two: Write Down Your Debts
Next, write down every debt, as well as the balance, minimum payment, due date, and interest rate. You’ll need all this information for the next step.
Step Three: Make A Budget
Once you have all the information from step one and two collected, you need to start on a budget. There are some online tools to help you budget or use the old fashioned but effective way of pen and paper. Once you have a budget using your monthly expenditures, figure out what you can cut down or eliminate.
Learn about the 50 30 20 budget rule. It’s a budgeting technique used to help get your spending under control.
You might need to do away with daily or even weekly luxuries for a little while. Remember the end goal is worth the deprivation!
Any extra money or bonuses will be put against your debt. You may want to open a savings account just for this money so that you don’t spend it.
Step Four: Pay Down the Debt
Take a look at your debt. You’ll develop a plan to pay down the debts using one of three methods. The avalanche method pays off debt with the highest interest rate first. You pay off each debt in order of the interest rate. This method saves you the most money.
The second method called the snowball starts with the smallest balance and pays it off first. This method is generally the most rewarding because you typically see the debt disappear faster. Another way to help pay off debt fast is to take out a lower interest loan or credit card and transfer balances. This method, called consolidation, can help eliminate multiple payments and due dates as well as lower interest payments. Read the fine print on credit card transfers very carefully! Sometimes the lowered interest rate is very short term.
Step Five: Consider an Additional Job or Source of Income
This one is very personal and may not work for everyone. If you can, pick up temporary employment and use every single penny from that job to pay down your debt.
Step Six: Start an Emergency Fund
Once your debt is gone, set up a savings account for emergency funds. Try for $1000 and then set goals to reach the equivalent of a couple months (six is preferred) of expenses. Use this money for true emergencies like health issues, car repairs, and those unexpected expenses that blow up budgets and add to credit card debt. You can ask the bank to put a hold on any amount so that you can’t accidentally spend it without a call to your bank.
Step Seven: Review Your Budget and Progress Monthly
Every month, sit down and review your budget and progress. You’ll need to be proactive and stay on top of your finances in order to reduce your debt.
What If It Doesn’t Work?
If you’ve tried these steps and you are not able to make any real progress, you may need professional help. If you have more than $10,000 in credit card debt and can barely make your minimum payments, Pacific Debt, Inc can help. We are a debt settlement company with an excellent track record and success rating. Debt settlement means that we negotiate with your creditors to significantly lower your debt.
About Pacific Debt
Pacific Debt Inc is one of the leading debt settlement companies in the US. We help you understand your options and whether or not debt settlement is your best option. If it is not, we will refer you to a trusted partner who may be more appropriate for your unique financial situation.
If you’d like more information on debt settlement or have more than $10,000 in credit card debt that you can’t pay, contact Pacific Debt, Inc. We may be able to help you become debt free in 2 to 4 years and we’ve settled over $300 million in debt for our customers since 2002.
Once you’ve completed our debt settlement program, your financial situation should start to improve. You’ll then be able to take the money you once had to pay towards your debt, and be able to use it for other purposes like saving, investing, retirement, etc.
Pacific Debt, Inc is accredited with the American Fair Credit Council and is an A+ member of the Better Business Bureau. We rate very highly in Top Consumer Reviews, Top Ten Reviews, Consumers Advocate, Consumer Affairs, Trust Pilot, and US News and World Report.
Pacific Debt is currently providing debt relief coverage in the following states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin
* Other states can be connected to one of our trusted partners
* Other states can be connected to one of our trusted partners. For more information, contact one of our debt specialists today. The initial consultation is free, and our debt experts will explain to you all your options.