Paying off debt is a common goal for many individuals and families in the United States. However, when you are barely getting by each month, it can be difficult to pay down debt, especially when the interest charges are almost equal to the minimum monthly payment.
John Scura from Scura Attorneys at Law states the key to paying off debt is to identify money-saving solutions that are realistic. Below are several suggestions for money-saving solutions that may help you manage your debt to take control of your finances.
Brown Bag Lunch
Taking your lunch to work each day can save between $25 to $50 per week. With an additional $100 to $200 per month to apply to your debt, you could see your debt amounts begin to dwindle in just a few months, depending on how much debt you owe.
Save Your Spare Change
You do not need a piggy bank to save your spare change. Any container will do to hold your spare pocket change each day. You may be surprised how much money you could save each month to pay toward your debt by throwing your change in a jar each day when you come home.
However, do not opt for the easy way out when cashing in your change. If you take your change to an automatic coin counter, you could pay from seven to ten percent for the convenience. Instead, ask your bank for free coin rolls and roll your coins at home.
Put Away the Plastic
Vow to use cash only for all purchases during the month. Leave your debit and credit cards at home. Give yourself an “allowance” at the beginning of the week and limit spending to the cash in your wallet. It is much easier to limit spending when you experience the immediate consequence of money leaving your wallet when you make a purchase instead of using plastic to pay for items.
Use Money Back or Cash Back Websites
If you order most of your supplies and other items online, you may want to investigate the cash back or money back websites. These websites, like EBATES, pays you for shopping online. Just be cautious when using these websites. Always read the fine print and do not purchase items that you do not need just to receive cash back for the purchase.
Join Reward Programs
Some reward programs offer cash back periodically while others may offer discounts for gas and groceries. As with the cashback websites, always read the fine print of any rewards program before enrolling in the program.
Institute No Spending Days Each Week
Choose a day each week or several days a month to enforce no spending days. On those days, you avoid spending any money except for absolute necessities. Any money left over at the end of the week or month is paid toward reducing your debt.
Round Up Entries in Your Checking Account
For each expense or bill paid from your checking account, round up the figure to the nearest dollar. The extra money in the account at the end of the month can also be used to pay toward reducing your debt.
Shop Around for Services
Shop around for insurance, cell service, cable, internet, gym memberships, bank account fees, and any other expense that may be associated with a service you receive. You may be surprised at how much you can save each month for these services simply by taking a few minutes to make some telephone calls. As with any service, weigh the cost of the service against the service received to ensure you are receiving value for your money. The lowest fee is not always the best service.
Try Living on One Income
You and your partner attempt to live on one income while putting the other person’s income in a savings account for a year or longer. The money can be used to pay down debt, purchase a new vehicle, or make a down payment on a new home.
Three Steps to Manage Your Debt
Finding extra money to pay down debt is not sufficient to manage your debt. To manage your debt effectively, you need to create and live within a personal budget. A budget allows you to track and control how you spend your money each month.
A budget also identifies overspending and areas in which you can cut expenses to save more money. By saving more money each month, you can pay off debt even faster. However, do not forget to add an item to your budget for emergency savings and regular savings. You need an emergency savings account to cover unexpected expenses in the future. An emergency savings account can help you avoid incurring additional debt for an unexpected expense, such as a doctor’s bill or car repair.
Saving money and reducing expenses is only one part of the plan. Now, you need a strategy to reduce debt. There are several methods for paying off debt. The avalanche method requires you to focus on the debt with the highest interest rate. You pay as much extra money toward that account until it is paid in full. You then focus on the account with the second highest interest rate. The snowball method focuses on paying off the account with the smallest balance and working your way up to the largest account balance is paid in full. Regardless of the method you choose to manage your debt, the key is to be consistent and remain focused until the debt is paid in full.
About the Author:
John J Scura III, Esq. is a Partner at Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota, LLP. John has been Certified by The Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney. Whether it is a personal injury case, bankruptcy case, litigation case or other type of matter, John wants his clients to participate in the decision making process toward solving their problem in the best way possible.