If you are in debt, it is important that you face up to the problem and move towards a better financial state. Help is available but you need to take some steps yourself.
Make a start today
When it comes to clearing off debt and improving your finances, make a start today. It can be all too easy to put things off until tomorrow only to find another reason to put them yet again. If you are serious about clearing off your debt, the sooner you get started, the better and there really is no time like the present. You don’t need to take massive steps today but by deciding to get started with respect to your debts, you will find that you can move in the right direction.
Take a look at your priorities
One of the best ways to get started with analysing your debt is by working out what you need to spend money on every month or week. We will all have essential bills and items in life, and these are the things that you need to make sure that you pay every month. We all have different priorities but the most common financial priorities include:
- Mortgage payments / Rent
- Household bills
- Travel costs to and from work
- Get started today
- Utility bills
If you can compile these bills and expenditure into a list and make sure that you focus on them first every month, you will be well on your way to taking better control of your finances
List your debts
None of us like to see our debts laid out in front of us, reminding us of the problems we face in life. However, if you don’t face up to and accept your debts, you will struggle to get on top of your debts. This is why you need to create a list of your debts. If you are comfortable using a computer, there are plenty of great spreadsheet packages that will help you to draw up a list but if not, don’t worry, using a pen and paper is just as good. You want to list all of the different debt payments you have and then you want to prioritise them. Sometimes just seeing your debts listed in front of you in black and white can be all the motivation you need to take better control of your finances.
List your other expenses
In addition to the essential bills and your debts, you will have other things to spend money on. Food and drink are essential items in life and it may be that you need to think about clothes or memberships of clubs etc. There can be a lot of additional expenses in life that soon add up, so it is best for you to create a list of everything that you spend money on to ensure that you know exactly how much money you spend every month.
Draw up a monthly budget
This is as simple as putting your income at the top of the list and then listing all of the other debts and expenses that you have already listed. If you have more income than you spend on bills, congratulations. You can either enjoy this money, save it or use it to speed up the rate of paying off your debt. The last option is a sensible one because in the long run, it will allow you to enjoy more disposable income. However, if your outgoings are larger than your income, you need to start looking at ways in which you can improve this. This may mean spending less or earning more.
If you want to minimise the hassle of paying bills, look into setting up Direct Debits or automatic billing. Knowing that you will make payments each month, avoiding late fees or non-payment fees is a good thing and will give you one less thing to worry about. However, these payments are usually linked to the minimum amount, and only paying the minimum amount every month will slow the rate at which you pay off debts or bills.
You should also consider consolidating some of these bills. If you are struggling to remember the dates and amounts for a number of small loans, how about obtaining a loan that allows you to pay off all of these loans in one go, and then you can focus on the one major loan. This is a sensible approach, especially if you are able to find a guarantor loan with an affordable APR. Combining your different loans into one debt, with a far more attractive APR rate, will help you to move forward with respect to debt and your finances.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.