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5 Steps that Will Help You Cope with Your Debt

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5 Steps that Will Help You Cope with Your Debt

There is an old saying that goes something like this “He who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing”, and I couldn’t agree more. In the good old days, borrowing was considered the last resort for a person in need, but nowadays it seems that everybody has some sort of debt, no matter how small. Our society is built upon the idea of credits and loans and the more you take, the more you need. The more you have, the more you want. And no matter what we do, we end up paying the price, sometimes for years. Chances are that at some point, some fancy guy in a suit will knock on your door and take everything you have. Luckily, all problems have solutions. So in order to get out of debt, or at least limit your debt, there are 5 steps that must be taken.

Step #1: Make Your Problems Your Priorities

It doesn’t matter if you work for a minimum wage or earn a decent living. With all these temptations, it is hard to stop getting loans and credits. The truth is that debts have become a normal part of our lives according to recent studies, and we are more often than not tempted to take on more than we can handle.

And although there is nothing more rewarding than standing on your own two feet, it is hard to do it with no debt whatsoever. College life is expensive, so you choose a student loan. Then, you want your own apartment or house, you get married, you have kids, you need cars and a change into the household appliances every now and then. And many people don’t get rich overnight, nor do they win the lottery or land on a gold mine. So credits and loans are the only solution to lead a normal life, like everyone else. But unless you want to spend the rest of your life paying interest, and worrying about your overdo payment, you have to take steps to dissolving your debt. Make the clearing of all your unresolved financial issues a top priority, and no matter what interference might occur, stick to your plan.

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Step #2: Stop Spending Your Money on Useless Stuff

It isn’t easy to embrace the frugal lifestyle, but nowadays there are so many resources and living examples of people who did it and who are living a care-free life, that you can’t be scared of trying it yourself. You know the saying “less is more”, so try applying it in your own life. Do you really need to buy all the junk you find in stores? I know you love chocolate, and you’re craving for a dinner out in the town, but you should focus on things that actually matter if you ever want to start moving forward. And it’s not a matter of giving up, it is a matter of simply clearing that cloudy sky and making a difference in your lifestyle, by creating balance. Balance leads to well-being.

Plus, you’d be amazed at how much money you can save if you put a little effort into it. Here is an idea to experiment: every time you go into the supermarket, try to think if you really need a certain item, and if you don’t, put the amount of money you would have spent on it somewhere else. Check that little deposit in a few weeks. And smile.

Step #3: Dealing with the Reality of Debt

If you accepted the fact that you have a debt problem and that you have to stop spending money on things that lack importance, the next step is to actually deal with the reality of debt. This means understanding the fact that although the bank may be offering you loans and credits for personal needs or for business needs, it certainly does not hold back from taking it all away when payments are not made in time. You go from wanting it all to losing even the little you had.

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There are many online resources and finance blogs that can advise you how exactly to deal with your debt in your country and which debt tools to make use of. In Australia, for example, debtconsolidation.com.au shows us that consolidation tools such are repayment are the most preferred ones. A repayment plan of your home loan would look like this:

    In other countries, people prefer to make one big loan, so they can cover all the other small ones.The most important focus of this strategy is that you will no longer risk missing payments and getting into more problems, because there is only one big problem that you have to worry about. It might sound a bit harsh, but having just one problem to deal with can be a life saver.

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    Step #4: Write Everything Down, Keep a Check List and Open a Savings Account

    It may not sound like the best advice, but writing down all your costs and profits will significantly help you manage your money. How exactly, you might wonder? It is simple: if you are diligent, and never forget to write everything in a notebook, you will be able to make a grand total at the end of the month/week, and see exactly what it is that is burning a hole through your pockets. To add more, try keeping things organized in a check list, so that you know what is a must and what can be saved for later. Organizing your spending budget is a key part in preventing new unwanted debts.

    Remember, we want to deal with each problem at a time, so preventing unwanted problems is also a smart way of living. Each time you managed to do something, even if it is just a simple action as to giving back some borrowed money, check list it. But what about holidays and expenses? Well, open up a savings account. Be it for Easter, Christmas, or other holidays and birthdays. It’s better to plan ahead. So if you want to spend some money, but not over do it, then this is the answer. Wondering what to do and where to “cut” from, so you can save money? Scroll up to Step 1 and read the experiment suggestion again and then come back to Step 5. Now you know where to start.

    Additional Pieces of Advice

    1. Never Give Up

    It takes a few weeks to get into serious debts, but you might be paying for this mistake your entire life. Nevertheless, if you have found yourself in a truly dire situation, where everything looks as though it could come crashing down in the blink of an eye, try to remain calm. Put your patience hat on, stay strong, and try to make the best out of what you have.

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    2. Stay Positive

    Optimism is the key to give peace to our minds. Nothing good will come out of stressing yourself. Remember that important lesson in math class: every problem has a solution. Stay focused and find it through creative realistic ways. But before that, keep your mind sane, so that it functions to its full potential.

    3. Carefully Choose Your Words and Your Actions

    Think, before talking and acting. Your actions can have side effects on your happiness and on the happiness of your dear ones. There are so many people who are consumed by their financial issues and still fail to understand that money does not bring happiness and luckily, there still are plenty of things money can’t buy.

    Word of advice: never joke around or say “I am forever in your debt” to a bank representative. He might take your word on that one.

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    Last Updated on January 5, 2022

    33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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    33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

    In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

    Some easy ways to save money:

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    1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
    2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
    3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
    4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
    5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
    6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
    7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
    8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
    9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
    10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
    11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
    12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
    13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
        a reusable water bottle and refill it.
      • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
      • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
      • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
      • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
      • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
      • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
      • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
      • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
      • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
      • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
      • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
      • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
      • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
      • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
      • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
      • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
      • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
      • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
      • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
      • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

      Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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      Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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