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debt

Lowering Your Debt for Life

By Zulika van Heerden ©2007

 



Debt might be a fact of almost everyone’s life, but it doesn’t have to be a fact of yours.  Once upon a time, people actually lived within their means, simply because they had no other choice.  What do you think would happen if you began to think along those lines?

Just imagine that debt like credit cards, installment loans, home mortgage loans, and extended payment options do not exist.  Throw away your credit cards, but destroy them first.  Pay off your credit card bills.  Cancel all of your credit cards.  Pay off any installment loans and avoid acquiring any new ones.  Even if you are only imagining this scenario, imagine how much cash you could free up if you did not have monthly minimum payments to make on credit cards and loans. Just imagine a life without debt

Eliminating your debt is the first step to liberating your finances.  If you only dealt with cash, you would never have any credit card bills to pay.  Obviously, this life change is going to be difficult to make.  Therefore, going about it one stage at a time will lead to the best results.  In fact, implementing gradual changes is probably the best way to ensure that this does indeed solve your debt problems for life.

The first step that you want to take is to do away with your credit cards.  If this is simply too stressful for you at this point, destroy the majority of them and hide one or two away for emergencies.  Pay off the credit cards with the smallest balances first.  Next, cancel those accounts the minute that they are paid off in full.  Continue paying off your debt on the remainder of your credit cards, including specialized store credit cards. 

Once your credit card accounts have been paid in full, you will notice that you have a ready flow of fluid cash to meet your expenditure needs.  Will it be difficult to stop using credit cards?  Definitely, it will be extremely difficult.  However, in the long run, it will be so worth it to not have credit card debt hanging over your head.  A bad day at the mailbox will no longer involve picking up 5 o 6 billing statements, but instead, it will be the absence of any mail for you at all.

The transition from a wallet full of credit cards is actually a nicer one than you might originally imagine.  After all, isn’t a wallet filled with twenties, fifties, and hundreds so much more appealing than a wallet filled with colorful pieces of plastic?  Plus, you can save up all of the change you get from your cash expenditures for special items or plans.

One of the unexpected benefits of paying for all of your purchases with cash is the fact that you might actually spend less money.  Quite often, our purchases are impulse buys that might never have occurred if we had the time to think about it.  Be honest with yourself.  Do you have anything in your home that you wish you hadn’t purchased?  Did you ever give away something that you purchased on impulse?  Do you have something in your home that you want to return, but haven’t been able to get to do?

Now that you have your bills under control, it’s time to get your spending under control.  Begin by incorporating one or two changes at a time.  Start with the changes that will be the easiest and have the least impact on your level of stress or lifestyle.  As you become successful with these, move on to other changes.  Eventually, some of these changes will become second nature to you and some will be tossed by the wayside.  Fortunately, the ones that do stick will save you money or at the very least, lower your expenses to keep in pace with inflation

Look over the following list and try the changes that make the most sense for your lifestyle.  Even if you don’t toss your credit cards, you can use these handy tips to save a bundle.

  • Wait for items that you want to go on sale before you purchase them.
  • Purchase luxury items with cash only.  If you don’t have enough money, you miss out on the luxury.
  • Save on fuel by coordinating all of your errands into one trip.  Better yet, plan around your work schedule so that you can run the errands before or after work.
  • Avoid long-distance phone calls unless you have free minutes.
  • Remove any features on your telephone that you don’t use on a weekly basis.
  • Write emails or snail mail letters instead of making long-distance phone calls.
  • Purchase energy savings appliances with high ratings.
  • Start a vegetable/herb garden.
  • Play a board game with the kids or read a book instead of going to the movies.
  • Rent DVDs and videos from the library free instead of renting them.
  • Ask for discounts for damaged items.  The damage might be minor enough that it doesn’t bother you, but most stores will offer a partial discount.

These are only a few of the strategies that you can try.  Once you have started with these, you are bound to discover some on your own.  It’s worth a try at the very least.

For more debt related articles click below:

- Debt-Free Living

- Are Debts Keeping You Up At Night?

- Good Debt vs Bad Debt

- Budgeting – It Has to be Done Otherwise You’re Sunk!

 
To apply for a debt consolidation loan you will have to fill out a short application form. You will then receive a FREE quote from well established, nationally recognized lenders. You do not need to decide now whether the debt consolidation loan is for you.

Just apply and compare the repayments to your current situation. There is no obligation on your part. If you decide that it is not for you, you simply do not have to accept the offer. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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