If you’re in debt, it can seem like there’s no way out. You’re already paying out everything you’re earning on the minimum monthly payments, and it seems as though you aren’t making a dent. It’s easy to become despondent in this situation, but usually there is something that you can do to improve your situation.
Stop spending on credit cards
It’s a tough thing to do. When you’re already in debt and don’t have any spare money, then it’s suddenly someone’s birthday or the car needs a new tire, it’s incredibly easy to put it on the credit card. The problem is, this means that the credit card balance never goes down and you are stuck making the minimum payment each month for far longer.
If you want to get out of the debt, the first thing you need to do is to get into the habit of putting a little money aside each month for unexpected expenses. That way, you will have real cash reserves to draw on and you won’t end up putting more on the cards.
Making more money
The most effective way to clear debt is to put more money towards it. There are always ways for you to make a little extra money on the side, if you are smart about it.
Think about things like:
- Having a clear out and selling your old things.
- Freelancing on the side.
- Teaching or tutoring either children or professionals in your field.
- Rent out a room either temporarily on Airbnb or more permanently.
- Drive for a ride hailing app like Uber or Lyft.
- Take up dog walking or babysitting.
These are all great ways to bring in a little extra money that will start to chip away at your debts over time.
Consolidate your debt
A lot of the problem with debt is that you’re making payments every month, but the majority of it is interest. This means that it takes a long time to clear.
OneMain Financial offers debt consolidation loans that you can take out to pay off your current debt, leaving you with a single monthly payment that is quite often smaller than the sum of your combined payments previously. You can then use the cash you have freed up to make an extra dent in your debt.
Have a debt repayment strategy
There are two effective debt repayment strategies that you can employ.
The first is the ‘debt avalanche’ method. This means looking at all of your debts and choosing the one with the highest interest rate, and paying as much towards it as you possibly can. That way, you have cleared the debt that is costing you the most money as a priority. You can then continue in this same way until all of your debt is cleared.
The second is the ‘debt snowball’ method. This means once again looking at all of your debts, but this time you prioritize the smallest debt first. This way, you can clear that debt more quickly, free up the monthly payment amount and use that to contribute towards your next smallest debt, and so on.
Which method is the most effective will depend on your personal situation.