Perhaps the most unfortunate fact about debt is that it’s easier to accrue than it is to eliminate. While there’s no way to snap your fingers and make it disappear, it is possible to work toward getting rid of your debt once and for all.
The key is committing to your chosen strategy—or a handful of different tactics at the same time—over the course of months or years. Your debt won’t dissipate overnight, but making lifestyle changes and exploring your debt relief options will help you come up with the best course of action for securing your long-term financial future.
Minimize the Urge to Spend
If you’re having a hard time avoiding racking up credit card debt, start by reducing the temptation to spend on anything besides the essentials. You may not even realize how many ads and marketing messages you see every day, each one calling you to perform a certain action: buy, shop, subscribe, sign up, etc.
One simple action you can take here is to unsubscribe from brand emails. The subject lines and coupons inside may make it seem like you’re getting an unbeatable deal, but you’ll have to pay the piper later. Out of sight, out of mind. Cut back on your credit card spending by steering clear of clever marketing.
Streamline Your Subscriptions
There are only so many hours in a day, and many people find themselves subscribed to more entertainment services and plans than they can possibly consume. Audit your subscriptions across the board, from cable to video streaming to mobile device apps. Keep only the essentials; let go of the rest. This could free up tens or hundreds of dollars per month that you can then apply toward your debts.
Consolidate Your Debt into One Payment
Juggling various deadlines, interest rates and types of debt can become particularly confusing—even causing consumers to miss due dates as details slip through the cracks. One solution is to consolidate your debts bytaking out a loan, paying them back, then focusing instead on paying back that single loan in fixed intervals. One potential benefit here is that the interest rate should be lower than, say, credit card debt and the like.
Explore Debt Settlement
If your debts exceed $7,500 and is eroding your credit, it’s may be prudent to consider a more hard-hitting option. There’s even a chance you can settle with creditors for less than the amount you currently owe.
Here’s how the process works with an organization that’s settled billions of dollars of debt, such as Freedom Debt Relief: After confirming your eligibility for debt settlement and choosing to enroll in a program, you must contribute monthly to a dedicated account. Once you’ve saved up a certain sum, professional negotiators will reach out to your creditors for you, attempting to settle the debt in your favor. If creditors agree, you use the money in your account to pay according to the negotiated terms.
Switch to a Cash-Only Budget
If your penchant for spending is one of the main problems contributing to your debt levels, switch to a cash-only budget. Without the ability to swipe a card, you’ll have to really consider each purchase. Plus, when you run out of cash, you’re simply out until you get paid again.
This strategy requires making a budget so you can account for the essentials plus a little extra.
Prioritize Debts Strategically
Unsure which debts to tackle first? Rank them in order by interest rate. Start with the highest; devote most of your money toward this debt while paying the minimum due on others. Once you’ve paid it off, move down the line.
There are plenty more life hacks to eliminate your debt, but these six should give you a solid idea of where you can start.