Debt is a big deal, and it’s the primary reason many of us are living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Of course, the devaluation of the dollar and the seemingly rising costs of living don’t help, either – but there’s not much that the individual person can do about the latter two things.
One thing you CAN do is learn to manage your debt so you can pay it down faster. Otherwise, it will remain hanging over your head, as you pay the interest without making much of a dent in the principal. Since most of us have student loan debt from college and our ever-continuing education, one place to start is with the site consolidatestudent.loan, where you can consolidate this debt into one easy payment at a manageable interest rate.
Once this part is done, you’ll still need a roadmap to actually paying it down as quickly as possible, so you can have some capital for that business you’ve been meaning to start, or for that much-needed vacation to Italy you’ve been meaning to take. Here goes…
1. Pay More Than You Have To
If you’re like the average person, then you have about 4-5 credit cards – and you’re carrying a balance on each one. That $25 minimum payment sure looks manageable every month, doesn’t it? Well, the problem is that this is precisely the reason you still have a balance years later – even a moderate balance can take a decade to fully pay off!
The way to solve this is to pay double the minimum payment each month so that the interest doesn’t just about eat up what you put down. Whether you have multiple credit cards, a student loan or an auto loan, calculate the most you can afford to put down every month and pay that much.
2. Get a Second Job
This second job can be anything, and run for just a few hours a day. The money you make from it should be reserved exclusively for paying down your debt; with this strategy, you’ll undoubtedly see huge gains – all it takes is discipline. The extra cash is not to be used for weekend parties or a new drum set though. Pick up a writing job online, or if you’re the more active type, mow a few lawns in your neighborhood. You’ll see the benefits in just a month’s time.
3. Auction Your Stuff
If you’re like most people, you probably have an old laptop in good condition laying around as a back-up. This should spur you to get together all the things in good condition that you haven’t used in a year, and put them up for sale on eBay or in a yard sale. These are items you won’t miss (much), and this act tackles two issues: helps you clean up your place, and provides some cash to pay down that debt.
4. Balance Transfer
Credit card companies are always in the business of obtaining more clients, which is why you’re probably still receiving unsolicited requests in the mail. Although you should avoid opening new accounts when trying to pay down a balance, it can be beneficial if the new company is offering 0% APR on balance transfers for the next year or so. Opt for the ones offering longer terms – 15-18 months is best – and turn your balance over to them. You could save hundreds of dollars on interest if you pay it down within the stated period.
5. Reconsider The Way You Celebrate
There’s little doubt that the period during which you’re paying down your debt will run into birthdays, holidays and outings with family and friends. These are the periods during which people tend to run up debt, and you’ll have to avoid them if you’re serious about debt management. If you ditch most of your expensive habits – here’s looking at you, daily Starbucks – then you can allow yourself to relax a bit on a birthday or two. Don’t eliminate pleasures from your life – just find less costly alternatives.