A little bit of debt is perfectly normal, whether it’s college fees, a loan to pay for a car or house, or even a personal loan. Even people with a tiny amount of debt need to manage it in order to keep up with payments, maintain a good credit rating and ensure their debt doesn’t start to take over. If you have a larger amount of debt, there are ways you can start to manage your money and have a (relatively) stress-free ride towards becoming debt-free.
- Pay on time
The last thing you need if you’re juggling debt is to add an additional late fee on top of what you already owe. Make sure you keep on top of your repayments. If you’re someone who struggles to remember this kind of thing, there are plenty of apps and resources you can use so that forgetting to pay on time becomes impossible. Have a calendar that logs all your monthly bills so you know what’s coming out of your account, where it’s going, and when.
- Talk to someone
We all feel a little bit awkward talking to each other about money, especially if it has become a problem or we’re in debt. Finding a friend or family member you can have an open discussion with will definitely help you feel like you’re less alone. You might find that they’ve been in a similar position themselves and can offer you some advice.
There are other options for debt relief and, if you’re really having trouble, you can always seek professional guidance on how best to manage your money moving forwards. There are pros and cons to these services but, ultimately, being in debt can feel isolating and like an inescapable situation so it’s important to remember that there is help available if you need it.
- Decide what to pay off first
Interest is what you need to consider. The debt that you’re paying the highest amount of interest on is where you should be focusing your attention. It might be possible to switch your debt to an interest-free card for a few months to give you a little more breathing space and avoid racking up even more charges while you’re paying it off. This can also help you prioritize your debts in order of when you want to pay them off. Choosing to start with one that has a low amount might give you a sense of achievement and motivate you to keep going.
- Create a budget
A budget is the first step towards ensuring that you don’t end up in debt again. It will also help you see how you are going to save while you’re paying things off. It might seem frivolous to have money sitting in a savings account while you’re still in debt, remember that if you have an emergency expenditure come up while you’re still trying to get out of debt, it can send you spiraling back into financial trouble if you need to borrow more money to fix your car or your house.