Getting Out Of Debt
Americans are swimming in the waters of debt, and some are drowning in it. There is a huge amount of debt owed by U.S. consumers - some $729 billion in credit cards, $8.36 trillion in mortgages, $1.1 trillion in auto loans, and $1.26 trillion in student loans.
If your personal balance sheet is upside-down, and you are one of the many with a “debt problem,” then here are some ideas to help throw that debt overboard:
List all your debts, smallest to largest. Focus on the small, manageable numbers first. While this may not be the fastest way to eliminate debt (as opposed to focusing on the highest interest rates first), it will definitely show you tangible results quicker than the alternative routes.
Part of the problem with debt is that your spending habits have outgrown your income habits. It’s time to reverse those scales, and get your income up so that you can manage the debt you’ve accumulated. The only other alternative to increasing your income is to reduce your output so that what money you do have is redirected to paying down debt. But either way, finding an additional or larger source of income is going to help the situation. There are many ways to supplement income nowadays - driving an Uber or freelancing in the evenings. The point is that it’s going to take some dedication and a little sacrifice to dig yourself out of the hole.
Here’s where “reducing your output” comes in. Formulate a budget, and stick to it. Chances are the reason you got into debt is that you don’t stick to a budget. Only about 30% of American households prepare and stick to a monthly budget.
There are many easy-to-use budget tools available online nowadays, so you don’t have to be a math professor to do this. It’s easy, and the results will be quite favorable. It will require discipline to keep to the budget, but paying down your debt and getting your head above water is worth the trouble.
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