Debt happens, don’t run away from it. Face it, seek help, there is so much information online e.g. instagram, pinterest, youtube, money blogs, gurus, books etc..
- Know your interest rates and what your current debt terms are
- Research the options available to you
- Call your current creditor/bank
- Ask for a better rate/repayment plan and see if they can match the best plan available
- Also apply to transfer the debt to a 0% credit card
Remember loyalty doesn’t come into it, did your bank offer you a better deal or did you have to ask for one?
Many people have not dealt with outstanding debt, it’s hidden away inside and it is often a source of stress, distress and shame. A secret embarrassment which freezes you, makes you afraid to act and worry that you will be refused an alternative in dealing with your debt. Debt is seen as failure especially when you are in it, but! it’s the not dealing with it that is the demon. Remember if you don’t ask you don’t get and you are judging yourself harshly. Asking for help is not shameful it is brave, so get out there and find the help and “Kill that Demon”. Once you have the debt terms sorted to as low a rate as possible (ideally 0%) then pay off the capital and do it within the term so you are no longer paying interest.
A client of mine closed his eyes to debt for 5+ years at approx 23%, he could have paid off his entire outstanding debt in that time and have 12k+ in the bank now if he had transferred his debt to 0%. If he had dealt with the debt sooner he would have more freedom now. Instead he has paid more than he owes in interest and still had the debt and he needs to remain in a job he loathes. But there’s a lot to be positive about, he has now transferred his debt to 0% int. and will be debt free in 36 months. He is so relieved and happy to have a clear plan, his challenge currently is to pay off the debt faster than planned so he can leave his loathsome job earlier. He has put his plan in to action and has started a second job two evenings a week, he has also updated his CV and is monitoring the job market. With more possibilities and opportunities to reduce his debt and get his life back he is now a man on a mission. His credit card is on ice in the freezer, he has changed his spending habits and is aware of his triggers and knows his rewards for sticking to his plan. He is making amazing progress and is updating me about deals and products (I am very proud).
If you are in a similar position or just want to get on track then use the list below to start changing those negative money habits.
- Work out a debt repayment plan
- Transfer as much of the debt as possible to 0% and ask for a % reduction on the rest
- Pay off the debt with the % rate first
- Setup direct debits to pay agreed debts and key monthly payments first
- Set a budget for living expenses with txt alerts when you are nearing limits
- Stick to your budget and limits
- Reduce your unnecessary spending
- Spend on what you need, you can get what you want when you are debt free
- Do your research
- Know your benchmarks for products you need and how much you should pay
- Review your spending habits
- Recognise and avoid any emotional triggers
- Don’t go to shops or browse online unless you need something and only with a list
- Stick to your budget and your list and tighten your belt
- Start shopping around for deals and offers in all areas of your spend
- Step inside award winning value supermarkets, where products are cheaper
- Look for free things to do and make use of coupons and cashback and points
- Use coupon and discount apps i.e. Shopmium, ClickSnap, CheckoutSmrt
- Have a pocket/purse in your bag for all your till vouchers and use them
- Reduce the small spends, they add up (*$s coffee)
- Step outside your comfort zone, try alternatives & new ideas (cafetiere fresh coffee)
- Challenge yourself on sourcing quality products for less
- Pass the lessons on
Stay strong, be mindful and turn your low conscious, low competence (where you are unaware that you are doing anything wrong) on its’ head. No problem is so big that it can’t be sorted, people have taken their own lives over debt, all life is worth more, so start with small steps and don’t stress. Repeat the list above and you will become a debt free, savvy mindful spender with a taste for quality and value and a pot of money to grow for your future ahead.
© Pamela Morrison
Useful Resources: Check out the comparison and advice sites such as Moneysavingexpert , Moneysupermarket in the UK as they have some great articles and tools. The citizens advice bureau is always good to pop into for practical advice and help. Avoid the fee-charging debt management companies who use phrases like ‘government debt advice’ or ‘government debt help’ to advertise their products.