Don’t Let Debt Get You Down – Run It Down…

Miss Money BeeBy April Lewis-Parks

Debt has been a curse to many Americans, especially since the economy bottomed out, the cost of living went through the roof and good paying jobs met the same fate as the dinosaurs, even for those who have working experience and a decent education.

Aggravation and frustration greet people each morning and there seems to be no help in sight. But there are ways to ease debt problems and, perhaps, even wipe debt out completely. Budgeting, rethinking spending habits and debt counseling are three things to consider.

Let’s start with budgeting. Take a seat in a quiet place and gather all the bills. Everything must be included in this financial exercise – rent/mortgage, car payment, utility bills, insurance, credit card payments, grocery bills, morning coffee, and pizza on the weekend, electronics, cable, in other words everything that costs money. Then compare that to the money earned. If a person can’t comfortably pay off their bills and have at least a little money left over to save then they have to move on to the next step.

Rethinking spending habits is a nice way of saying, “you must change your financial lifestyle or you’ll crash and burn.” There’s no other choice; stop buying coffee in the morning, don’t go out to lunch or dinner, start making lunch at home and cooking meals at home. Don’t run the air conditioner as much in the summer and keep the heat at a minimum during winter, drive the car less, cancel gym memberships and start working out at home — get creative. Then there is the issue of credit cards; don’t use them unless there is an emergency, and don’t spend frivolously. No one needs the latest and greatest gadgets or the highest end clothing and accessories.

If a person is a hopeless spender and shopper then they must find something else to do with their time. Stay away from the mall or online shopping by taking a walk, or spending more time with family and friends. Set priorities. Is shopping more important than quality time with kids or a spouse? Deep inside spenders know that they are hurting themselves. The rush of buying something new quickly dissipates when the reality of paying it off confronts them. If this seems like too much to handle alone, then move on to the next step.

Debt counseling is usually free and reputable companies can easily be found online. These companies have counselors who will assist either by phone or face to face. They will review a person’s complete financial situation, plan a budget with them and create money management goals. Debt counseling is also important because the results include a comprehensive plan that is geared toward the person’s individual needs. One caution, make certain that the debt counseling company has certified counselors, and if they want to charge an upfront fee then walk away.

Debt shouldn’t ruin anyone’s life; there are ways to take charge and change things. It could take years to alleviate debt but it will be worth every second and every penny saved.  To learn more about the best way to pay off different types of debt visit ConsoldiatedCredit.org.