Bad debt management is at an all time high. More people are having more financial problems than ever before. Bankruptcy is at an all time high. Financial stress is tearing families apart.
Many people think debt consolidation is the answer to all their financial problems. Just think… you get one loan to pay off all your debts. Then, you only have to deal with one company and one payment. You have to admit, it sounds very good.
However, getting a debt consolidation loan will not likely resolve existing financial problems until or unless one learns how to manage their debts. Financial abuse can get out of control. It can become additive just like drugs or alcohol. Often, financial mismanagement occurs because of lack of understanding.
Some blame easy credit as the source of their problems. Although it is easy to obtain easy credit, that does not determine how people choose to spend their money. Financial responsibility and accountability is the path to a debt free life.
Bankruptcy causes more stress, wipes out your credit and haunts you for years to come. With determination, education and application of correct money principles, you can regain control of your financial life and quickly get on the road to a debt free life.
Five Debt Management Keys to Success
Managing ones debt is critical. Debt management teaches you how to handle your personal finances. Here are five important principles to use in learning how to best manage your finances.
1. Meet with a Reputable Debt Management Counselor
Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. This idea is particularly true with respect to our personal finances. Getting an outside, objective view of your current financial status is very important.
A good debt management counselor will review your current financial circumstances and help you develop a plan to pay off your debts. You can expect honest and frank feedback. Anything less would not help you.
Your relationship with a debt counselor is important. If you feel at ease in talking, you’re more likely to openly discuss your needs and personal problems. However, keep in mind that you probably won’t like everything you hear. Nevertheless, when you know he/she has your best interest at heart, you’re more likely to follow the advice you get.
You should talk with several different counselors. Learn as much as you can. Find someone that really listens. If possible, talk with someone that has worked with the counselor. Get information on what the counselor has done to help other people. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions: What will the counselor will do? What will you be expected to do? How much it will cost? How long will it take?
Once you’ve found a good debt management counselor with a proven track record, commit yourself to listening to and applying the advice you receive.
2. Make Debt Reduction as a Priority
Every debt is different. You have different amounts to pay. The interest rates vary. It may not make any difference on how you decide to tackle your debt. The most important point is that you focus on paying off your debt.
Once you’ve gotten some good advice from a debt management counselor, together you can determine the best way to pay off your debts. You should feel good about your financial plan. Each time you pay off a debt, you will feel better. Each time you pay a debt, you are one step closer to financial freedom.
Make paying off your debts the biggest priority and you will soon be on the road to a debt free life.
3. Follow Your Budget Plan
One major key to success in debt management is establishing and following a budget. Your budget should allow you enough money to pay your debts and still have your necessary living expenses. The closer you follow your budget, the more likely you will succeed in becoming debt free.
Success comes by consistently paying your debts. If you pay your debts first, then you know exactly how much money you have to live on.
Be sure to record and document each transaction. It doesn’t matter what method you use to keep track of your payments. You can write them in a checkbook ledger, put money in envelopes for each budget category or enter each transaction into a computer program. The real key is to know exactly how much you spend in each of your allocated budget categories. When you’ve spent all the money for a given category, you’re done for the month.
4. Tear Up All Your Credit Cards
One of the biggest reasons people accumulate so much debt is the use of credit cards. It’s easy to charge something. You don’t have to pay cash. It’s like the old saying “Out of sight, Out of mind”. If you don’t see the money going out, you’re not as aware of you spending.
Your debt management counselor has many more resources than you do. They can make financial arrangements with your creditors to lower your payments and interest rate. In most cases, you will have to agree not to accumulate any more debt.
Tearing up your credit cards takes away the temptation to increase your debt. It’s easy to say something doesn’t cost that much, so a little charge here and there won’t hurt. Don’t deceive yourself. That’s how people get into financial problems in the first place… Get rid of the credit cards. Pay cash or pay nothing.
5. Become More Conscious of Your Expenditures
When you become acutely aware of where your money goes, you can begin to reduce or eliminate unnecessary expenditures. You’ll begin to develop new and improved spending habits. Ask yourself. What is my most expensive bill? Is it heating? Is it air conditioning? Is it water?
Next, become aware of what you do each day. Do you leave the lights on when you leave a room? What do you do when you leave the house for several hours? You may think that turning down the heat or turning up the air doesn’t save much. That is true. Nevertheless, if you do it everyday, those little savings begin to add up. Just think of it as your personal savings plan. The less you pay, the more you have to spend in other places.
Small expenditure reductions over time add up to big savings. Become more conscious of where your money is going.
Learning and applying good debt management skills will make all the difference in your life. Once you have paid off your debts, you’ll be in total control again. You’ll never want to repeat the experience again. Say goodbye to bad debt management forever.