How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt
© 2017 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
Americans owe close to $1 trillion in credit and charge card debt.
More than half of Americans, or 58 percent, said they were currently “struggling,” according to a Gallup poll.
The increase represented more than 22 million people, according to Gallup, who found increasing hardship surrounding their lives.
Meanwhile, as a precursor to what was to come, a Reuters article reported in January 2009 that “U.S. consumers have never before been so deeply in debt.” As of October 2009, there was close to $1 trillion of credit and charge card debt outstanding, which is up more than 25 percent since 2003, according to the Federal Reserve reports. And this didn’t at that time include the $10.54 trillion in mortgage debt.
The U.S. National debt as of Jan. 1, 2012 was $15,170,600,000,000. United States now owes more money than its yearly production (GDP-$15,064,816,000,000) with no signs of a debt ceiling or reducing.
Experts predicted that the credit card industry could lose $70 billion in losses, and in this regard individuals and families are among those hardest hits.
The U.S. unemployment rate rose from a prior increase to 7.2 percent in December 2008 (being the highest level in the last 16 years, and 524,000 jobs cut), to a U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3 percent in mid-January 2012.
While debt for many Americans is increasing, and many are having a hard time finding their way out, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With a simple plan and a desire, you can get out of debt even if the economy is down, and here are the tips to help you do so.
Degunk Your Personal Finances
Learning how to take control of your financial life, eliminating stress, and achieving your goals is possible, and quite easy to achieve, with the help of a simple, proven, 12-step plan explained in the very informative book, "Degunking Your Personal Finances." With this book, you will:
- Create and understand your current financial situation. (chapter 4)
- Learn a quick and easy way to manage your monthly bills. (pgs. 29-37)
- Find out how much you spend and where your money goes. (Chapter 11)
- Use the proven formula that will ensure elimination of credit card debt. (pgs. 100-101)
- Become familiar with ways to invest for the future and improve your financial security. (Chapters 16 & 17)
- Build your savings. (Chapter 9)
- Gain true knowledge on home mortgages -- fixed vs. adjustable rates. (pgs. 123-127)
- Familiarize yourself with your credit report and drastically improve your credit score. (Chapter 10)
- Understand how to put strategies in place to help you cope with unexpected events that can leave you financially burdened. (Chapter 17)
- Get useful tips on how to save on clothing, vehicle purchases, vacations, home repairs. (Chapter 12)
- Find hidden money -- these amazing tips are worth the price of the book alone! (pgs. 256-269)
- Assess the situation. Before you devise a plan, you need to know how much debt you’re carrying, and at what interest rates. Make a list of what you owe and tally up your total debt.
- Pay for necessities first. Assuming you have a set income each month, set aside an allotment to pay for the things you MUST have. This includes your house (mortgage or rent payment), your utilities (gas and electric), your transportation (car payment), child support (if applicable) and any medical emergencies.
- Next pay your taxes and any student loans. If you have money left over, pay the IRS for your taxes, or at least work with them to come up with a payment plan. Similarly, student loans that are backed by the government (most are) should also be a priority payment because the government can garnish your wages, seize tax refunds and sometimes tap into your Social Security benefits if they’re not paid.
- Pay off your highest interest cards first. Focus on paying down one card at a time, and start with the one with the highest interest rate.
- Transfer balances to a lower-rate credit card or bank loan. Many credit card companies offer 0% or low interest on balance transfers for a specified time period (watch out for any fees attached). Check sites like lowermybills.com and bankrate.com to find competitive offers. You can also ask your credit card company to match a competitor’s lower rate (many will do so to keep your business).
- Pay more than the minimum payment. Paying only the minimum, it can take 10 years or more to pay off a card. Increasing the amount as much as you can means you’ll pay the card off faster and save a lot of money in interest.
- Cut back on splurges to create extra money. Premium cable channels, gym memberships, take-out food and new clothes all add up fast. Cutting back on your expenses as much as you can means you’ll have extra money to pay down your debt faster.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, 8.5 million Americans have already taken a second job to meet regular household expenses or pay off debt.
- Consider finding a second job, or asking for a raise. Asking for a raise is a simple way to boost your income, but if this isn’t feasible right now, think about taking on overtime hours, doing consulting or freelance work or taking on a part-time job.
- If necessary, downsize. If it will save you money, consider moving from your large home into a smaller one, or an apartment. Remember to keep in mind your goal: paying off your debt. Once this is completed, you can think about buying a new home once again -- without the added burden of your previous debt. You can also downsize by selling one of your cars, switching your kids from private school to public school, etc.
- Leave your credit cards at home. Buy only what you can pay for in cash.
- Read “Degunking Your Personal Finances.” "Degunking Your Personal Finances" delves into every aspect of finances that matters to those who are not yet millionaires, and will be a valuable asset to your becoming debt-free. College students, newlyweds, and even the family of four can successfully pay off debt, invest for the future, save for the much-needed vacation, and ultimately achieve financial freedom by following the practical plan outlined in this book. Remember, ignoring a bad financial situation is like ignoring your lawn -- the less you pay attention to it, the more out of control it grows. So the sooner you take action, the faster you’ll be on your way to financial freedom.
Oprah.com Dig Yourself Out of Debt