Is credit card debt driving you crazy? Spent too much this holiday season?
Well, you’re definitely not alone. Credit card debt is a way of life these days. Especially now, right after the holidays!
For many people, money gets REAL tight this time of year – we need to pay for all the holiday gifts, get ready for tax season…
What can you do if debt has taken over your life?
Make getting out of debt your New Year’s Resolution for 2006!
Here are 5 simple tips for getting out of debt. Keeping a New Year’s Resolution is difficult. But if you follow these tips, you’ll be prepared for a prosperous 2006!
1) Write down your goal and make a plan for achieving it!
The first step to getting out of debt is by far the most important – you need to:
• make a commitment to get out of debt
• write it down
• and come up with a plan for reaching it!
Hey, you didn’t get into debt overnight, and you won’t get out overnight, either. But if you want to get out of debt – if you REALLY want to get out of debt, you need to have a plan. And you need to stick with it.
2) Seriously consider using a debt reduction program
If you have the discipline to get out of debt on your own, without any help, then good for you! But if you’re like most people, a little help will go a long way. Here are a few debt reduction programs to consider:
• Credit counseling: If you have high interest rates on your credit cards, working with a non-profit company will help you lower those high rates, and combine your credit card bills into one lower monthly payment – which means more of your money will go towards reducing your debt!
• Debt consolidation loan: If you own a home, you can consider taking out a home equity loan to pay off all your credit card bills, lower you interest rates, and possibly deduct the interest on your taxes (but check with your tax professional on this one).
• Debt settlement: If nothing else is working, and your debt is still overwhelming, then you should consider debt settlement. This is a more aggressive approach, and is not right for everyone, but if you’re considering bankruptcy, this is a good option. You can pay off all your credit card bills at a savings of 40-60%, and get out of debt much quicker.
3) Start fixing your credit problems
Many people think that anything that goes on your credit report stays there for 7 years. Well, that’s not always true. I got a bunch of negative credit items off my credit report – all I did was get a copy of my credit report, and ask the credit bureaus to remove the “bad stuff”. In just a few months, my credit was almost back to normal. There’s nothing that says we must pay for our mistakes forever (or even for 7 years)!
4) Cut down your monthly expenses
If you overdid the spending in 2005, then it’s time to cut out all the expenses you don’t need, and use the money you save to pay off your credit card bills. Take a look at your checking and savings account statements, your credit card statements, and your monthly bills. Then start looking for things to cut. I know, I know, it’s hard to live without cable TV, cell phones, internet access, the morning paper, weekend dinners and entertainment. BUT DO IT ANYWAY – at least until you get your debt back under control!
5) Make some extra spending money
Sometimes making more money is the best answer! There are lots of ways to make money – selling some of your valuables, getting a part-time job, starting your own business. Despite some of the ads you read, there’s no really secret to making money – you just need to find something you like to do, and work hard at it!
6) Think positive!
OK, there were only supposed to be 5 tips, but this one is the best one – no matter how hard life can get, no matter how much debt you have, the one thing in life you can control the most is how you think. So rather than focusing on what you don’t have, be thankful for all that you do have. Nobody dies wishing they had made more money or worked longer. But many people do regret all the fun and meaningful things THEY DID NOT DO! So make some time to have fun, think positive, and find little ways to enjoy life EVERY SINGLE DAY you are here on plant Earth!
Wondering what makes me an expert on debt? Well, I lived through it. I know what it feels like to struggle. And I know what it feels like to overcome financial problems. There’s nothing special about me. I work at a college, so I don’t make a heck of a lot of money. I didn’t win the lottery. And no rich relatives left me a pile of money.
I just learned a few simple strategies – actually, I learned the 5 tips you just read about – and stuck with them until my life changed for the better.
And you can, too – just follow the tips above, believe in yourself, and DON’T LET ANYONE OR ANYTHING STOP YOU FROM REACHING YOUR GOALS in life!