Whether it's because of an illness, a sudden unexpected expense, or lack of planning, it's easy to find your finances out of whack. Getting into financial trouble is easy, but how do you get out of debt.
Getting out of debt requires patience, planning, and a bit of belt-tightening. The first step is to talk to your creditors. If you throw away their letters or don't respond, the bailiffs will come knocking on the door.
Many companies are willing to reach an agreement - contacting your creditors to set up a repayment plan shows that you are serious about tackling your problems. Be prepared to negotiate to get out of debt - many creditors will freeze the interest on a debt in exchange for receiving small regular payments.
Other more general steps to take control of your finances:
- Develop a budget that lists all your income and expenses. Be ruthless and eliminate the extras.
- Cut up your credit cards and stop charging.
- List everything you owe and focus on paying off the smallest bills first. Don't worry about the relative interest rates, just pay off the smallest debt. Every time you pay off one bill, take what you paid on it and put it toward the next smallest.
- Any extra income you receive, designate it towards a certain bill, until that bill is paid off.
- Don't ever miss a payment.
- Give yourself a small (free!) treat when you pay off the next debt.
The truth is that the only way to get out of debt is to bite the bullet, cut expenses, and start paying every penny you can towards your debts.