7 Steps to Getting Out of Debt - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

7 Steps to Getting Out of Debt

Finding yourself in debt is both frightening and overwhelming. Whether your debt is a few thousand dollars or a half a million, if you are overspent, you need to make changes fast.

Depending on how deep in debt you are, you may feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but rest assured there is. Many others have found themselves in your shoes and climbed their way out.

Below are 7 simple tips to get you started in achieving your debt reduction goals.

1. Commit to change.
First and foremost, you must commit to changing your past and/or current spending patterns. You must resolve to spend less than you make no matter how tempting the high life may be. This is a good practice for everyone, but especially crucial to those in debt.

2. Cash is king.
One way to make sure that you do not overspend is to cut up those credit cards and spend only the cash that you have on hand. This will ensure that you are only spending what you have the means to spend.

Remember to continue to keep track of your spending, though, and spend it correctly. Even if cash is more controllable, you don't want to spend all of your cash at the mall and come to find there is nothing left when you get to the food market.

3. Track your spending.
Do you know how you got into debt in the first place? Have you looked at why you don't seem to be getting out? Knowledge is crucial to changing your habits. Keeping track of all monies coming in and going out will allow you to see where the money is going, and where you could make changes to better control it.

4. Learn which debts are the worst and attack those first.
Debts on items that can appreciate in value and have tax advantages are the least risky. A home is the best example of this but school loans could also fall into this category. Years down the road you are most likely to have increased the value of that purchase.

Debts on items that come and go are the worst because once the money is gone, you are left with nothing. Also, a general rule of thumb is that anything with an interest rate over 10% is going to hurt. Credit card lovers be warned!

5. Get a better rate.
You can almost always find a lender willing to consolidate your debt for a better rate, which will make payments more manageable. This is because lenders love to make money off of you and the more you owe, the more they get.

Keeping this in mind, take advantage of their greed. Call up your credit card companies and tell them that you'd love to stay with them but you've received many offers from other companies that are willing to give you a lower rate. If you are persistent, you are likely to get a break. If they refuse and you do find a better rate, take your business elsewhere!

6. Make a plan.
Do it yourself or hire a financial advisor to help. There are also many inexpensive software programs that can help you identify your debt and create a payment plan. Manipulate the numbers to see how much quicker your debt will be paid off if you make larger payments now. This can be just the encouraging boost you need to get focused.

7. Stand tall and be aggressive!
Once you have resolved to pay off your debt, stay strong and be pleased with yourself for the decision you have made. The harder you work in the beginning, the sooner you will be paid off. Don't lose track of your goals. The end may appear far but you will get there!!

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