Most people have, by the time they are in their mid-twenties, accrued some debt of some sort; this is just an inevitable fact of life. Those with more commonsense and wise ways with money will of course, have built up less and whatever they owe, they will have made sure to budget for repayments. Sadly, the past couple of years have left many more people owing much more money than ever before and often, with less means to pay it back, due to economic downturn that could have left them jobless and possibly homeless. The key features of personal debt reduction strategies are to face up to what is owed and to find practical solutions to tackling the problem.
First, remember that knowledge is power and so it is imperative that you are fully aware of every single piece of debt you owe. Often, it all seems too much and some people have been known to file bank statements, bills and final demands in the bin! No, the way to go is to sit down and look carefully at all that should be going towards paying off debts and normal living expenses too, of course. The next important part of this equation is to look at what is coming in, the amount of cash available to make these payments.
One good personal debt reduction strategy is to consolidate all the loans, credit cards, overdrafts and heavy-duty debts into one lump and then arrange to pay it off that way. This SOUNDS a simple solution, but the advice here is to get advice – see a professional debt counsellor before taking any such step. Certainly in the UK, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau offer free debt-counselling and advice on how to set up a good repayment method. There are other charities out there that will help to ease the burden of paying back personal debts, simply by calling on their own legal expertise and setting things in motion for you. Check your phone book or local library for where you can access them.
There are simple steps you can take to gather up some money to help your personal debt reduction strategies. These include making savings in day to day living, just so you can pay off those debts and sleep better at night. Bear in mind you will not be having to do this forever, but just until you get yourself “straight” again and your books balanced. For example, cut out takeaway food or eating out at restaurants for the next three to six months. Not only will you save a bit of money to go towards debt reduction, but you will do your waistline some good into the bargain. Take up free pass times such as running, cycling or jogging, rather than paying out for gym subscriptions – you do not need a gym to get fitter. Buy supermarket’s own brands and look out for BOGOF offers, thus saving you money on groceries and shopping.
Sell what you no longer wear, want or need, on eBay or any other auction site. You will be surprised how much money you can accumulate when selling this way, and it all goes towards your personal debt reduction. Of course, you must not be tempted to buy and to that end, you might even want to cut up those credit cards that have contributed so heavily to this personal millstone round your neck. This means that when you shop for groceries and necessities, take just enough cash with you and use only that. There is some evidence that shopping for small amounts more often leads to less spending than doing a “big shop” once a week, so that could be yet another money-saving, debt-reducing strategy.
Get a part-time job if you can, just for long enough to make a dent in those personal debts. This will have the added advantages of keeping you from spending money on outings to the cinema, ball-game, night-club and so forth, and maybe help you make new friends. Working in a bar or restaurant, while it may not pay a great salary, will allow you to gather up some tips and make life a lot more sociable than sitting home worrying about what you owe.
Treat these personal debt reduction strategies as interesting challenges and life-changing opportunities as you work towards clearing the debt. See the positive side of doing without something by putting something else more worthwhile and profitable in its place. Before you get to six months down the line, you will actually be enjoying beating the debt and coming out a winner, with a lot more to show in your life than more money.