Sunday, August 15, 2010

Five Ways to Reduce Your Debt Now

Almost everyone has some kind of debt. Are you feeling like you are handing over your paychecks to service this debt? Your first step is to figure out how much you really owe. This may take a couple of months depending on how organized your finances are. Record each debt and interest rate attached. Start attacking debt with your highest interest rate debt coming first.

1. Contact your lenders to see if there is a way to negotiate your interest rate. Often credit card companies you owe are the likeliest candidates. Sometimes they say no, sometimes they say yes. You can't know unless you ask.

2. Hold a garage sale, sell items on Kijiji or Ebay. Put 100% of the proceeds against your highest interest rate debt.

3. Consider consolidation of debts with a bank at a lower overall interest rate. This only works if you refuse to get into further debt after consolidation and faithfully pay the bill. Unfortunately many who do this rack their credit cards up again and then have a consolidation loan debt plus credit card bills.

4. Take a temporary part-time second job. This could involve working a special event, shovelling sidewalks, mowing lawns, babysitting. Don't put this extra money into your regular budget but apply directly to your debt.

5. Start a cash only life. If you don't have the cash you don't buy. Methods include envelopes, cash jars etc. Make sure if anything is left in the jars at the end of the month you apply directly to your debt. Not only will you not contribute any further debt to your budget but you will learn to live within your means. This does not mean closing credit accounts as you will always need access to credit at some point in life. It just means learning to use credit as only a tool, not a way of life.

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