Today, trying to find people who aren’t in debt is probably more challenging than finding those who are. Unsecured debts like credit cards and credit lines are very common, and they can cause a lot of stress if left to fester.
One of the problems with paying debts down is that a lot of people try to come up with the ‘big solution’ that will wipe it all away in one fell swoop. A big solution is fine if you can find one, but sometimes it’s the little things you can do on a day-to-day basis that ultimately make the difference. Here are 10 little strategies you can start today that can help you on your way to financial freedom.
1) Stop Adding to the Total
Even though it might seem like a very simple concept, you must stop adding to your total debt. If you keep adding while you’re paying, you’ll only go in circles and you will never make any progress. Put the cards away, cut them or do whatever you must to put a freeze on credit spending.
2) Add Extra Income
If possible, start adding to the total that’s coming in each month. Consider selling some of that extra stuff online, work more hours or get a second job to bring in more. Whatever extra you bring in, throw it directly on your debts.
3) Make Lists
Lists are great to get information out of your head and into a more manageable format. When shopping, lists can help you stay focused and disciplined and buy only what you need.
4) Adjust Your Shopping Strategy
If saving money is the goal, then changing up your shopping strategy will also help. Start thinking about buying non-perishables in bulk when possible and stay away from popular brand names more often. These kinds of changes may seem trivial, but together they all add up. Also, obey the age-old rule of never going grocery shopping when you’re hungry!
5) Scrutinize the Expense List
Along with your shopping lists, make an overall expense list and scrutinize it closely. Your goal is to figure out which of your monthly expenses are non-negotiable and which ones you can eliminate or reduce.
6) Keep Track
You’ll know where most of the money goes by making and scrutinizing your list, but also keep track of every dime you spend. At least for a month or so. You’ll find that you’re spending money each month that you don’t even realize is going. By keeping track, you’ll probably be able to find more each month to put toward the debt load.
7) Change Your Focus
If you’re just making modest payments on each debt each month, you might want to change your focus and focus on paying the lowest one off completely. Make your regular monthly payments on most of them and pile as much as possible on the lowest one until it’s paid off. Then move onto the next lowest debt and repeat.
8) Look for Better Terms
If you are good about always making at least your minimum payments, consider asking your creditors to lower your interest rates. If your history with them is good, they might help you out, which will get you to your goals faster.
Going to your bank and trying to have your service fees lowered is another thing that might help you save some money each month.
9) Stick with It
While staying with the program isn’t exactly a strategy on its own, none of the others will work if you don’t follow it. When you’re making little changes and implementing them on a more frequent basis, it can be difficult to stick with it.
10) Get Some Help
If all of these little changes just aren’t working for you, or you can’t seem to find the motivation, consider credit counseling. Sometimes, it’s just that extra little bit that you need to make it all work.