How To Control Your Debt

 In Financial Planning, Ozarks Live, Productivity, Tips

How To Control Your Debt

Do you have a problem with existing credit card debt and want to learn how to better control it? Debt is not something that will just disappear quickly, and getting rid of it can be a long process. There’s really only one absolute way to control and pay off debt faster: You need to pay on the debt any and every chance possible. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • Make more and spend less. This may seem like something obvious, but to successfully put more money toward your credit card debt, you have to make room for more money in your budget, which means spending less. One trick is to make a list of things you actually need versus things you want, and only allow yourself to spend on things you need and see how it helps increase your extra cash.
  • Set up automatic payments. Marking your calendar with the dates that bills need to be paid off and then setting up automatic payments allows the money to be taken out without having to physically go in and make a payment, which could prevent you from spending that money on unnecessary things. 
  • Contribute more to savings. This may seem like another obvious idea, but with the more money available in savings for things that are necessary, like emergencies, the less money you will have to take out of your regular checking account, therefore that money could be put towards paying off debt. 
  • Avoid spending- unless necessary. When we receive extra income, the typical first instinct is to go out and spend it. Instead, think ahead and remind yourself how you really should use these funds to put towards debt.

It is extremely helpful to sit down with a pen and paper or digital spreadsheet, and map out your finances. Write down how much is in each account, how much is typically being spent per month, and how much in owed on each account, noting the interest rate. This gives a glimpse of where you are sitting at with your finances and from there you can start to play around with numbers and see how much your going to be able to contribute each month to paying off the debt.

A popular strategy for paying down the debt involves paying off the account with the highest interest first.  Then the second highest second, and so on.  Another strategy is to pay off the lowest balance first.  In each case organize your list or spreadsheet by the strategy you chose and update it often.  Hanging it on your refrigerator is a good way for the family to be invoved in the game of ‘how fast can we pay it off!’

If you need further help contact Consumer Credit Counseling.  They are a non-profit agency in Springfield dedicated to solving debt problems.

As always, if you have any financial questions, give our office a call anytime at 417-882-1800 and make sure to tune into Bruce’s show next week.   AW03182027

Sources: 

Issa, Erin El. “Dealing with Credit Card Debt: How to Get Debt-Free.” NerdWallet, 22 June 2017, www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/credit-card-debt/.  

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