The best way to get rid of debt is – Stop spending!
Yes it can be that simple. The more difficult way to get out of debt fast is to make more money.
Until you start making money, you should cut down on spending.
1. List all your credit card balances. Create a list of your debts, including your balance, the due date, new credit card purchases, and the required minimum payments. Determine your total required payment across all of your accounts, and compare this to your income and expenses to evaluate how much you can pay toward debt each month. Photocopy this list so that you can track your details each month.
List all your house hold expense amounts: rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, cell phone, insurance etc.
List other expenses: car payments, school loans, medical bills, legal fees, alimony etc.
2. List your income: work, business, support, social security, retirement etc.
3. Subtract your bills from your income. This amount is your savings. If it is zero, the your debt to income is 100% which is very bad. If you owe more than you make, unless you do something now, you are headed towards bankruptcy unless you can cut down on spending and reduce your bills as fast as possible.
4. Plan to pay using Debt Stacking. My proven tip to eliminate credit card debt is to pay off the smallest card first. In my example below I owe on 4 credit cards, then smaller number is the required minimum payment I am making.
- Chase $1,200 / $43
- American Express $3,500 / $ 57
- Capitol One $5,700 / $ 96
- Wells Fargo $7,900 / $146
Total Credit Card Debt $18,300
Lets assume I have $100 savings each month plus I cut down on eating out, and lower my utilities bills giving me another $100 per month. Now I have $200 per month.
Next month I will start paying $243 on my Chase card for 5 months ($1,200 ÷ $243 = 5) until paid off.
On the 6th month I will pay $300 ($243 + $57) for 12 months until paid off.
I will then pay $397 ( $300 + $97) for 14 months until paid off.
I know this seems long and maybe hard. Once you eliminate the first card, you will be so relieved and want to keep saving. During this time you are training yourself to be disciplined with your finances. You will feel empowered.
You can speed this process with an increase in work income or a gift from family or friends. Instead of going shopping, pay off your credit cards.
Think about this, most credit card interest is 15% – 23%. From the example above, total credit card debit is $18,300 at 23% interest you are throwing away $4,209 every year you keep that debt.
Would you reduce your salary by $4,209? Well you are! That is money you are giving away to the banks. Think about what you could do with an extra $4,209.00 every single year.
5. Turn Clutter into Cash
Get rid of all the things you rarely use. Clear out the garage, the storage unit and turn those things into cash and use the money to pay down debts. With a bit of work, you may be able to raise $500 to $1,000 towards your debt reduction.
6. Negotiate Lower Rates
A recent study showed that 56 percent of people who called their credit card issuer were able to negotiate a lower interest rate. They were able to shave about 5 percent off their APR.