If you owe more than you make and the debt is becoming unmanageable, it’s time to take action. The average Canadian family now owes $1.78 for every dollar of disposable income, compared to 66 cents in 1980. Overall, household debt has risen 54% in the past decade to $2.2 trillion.
There are many ways to manage your debts, such as consolidating your credit card debt or pursuing bankruptcy. However, these options might not be suitable for you. Here are five things that you can do in the meantime before choosing a long-term solution.
Monitor Your Spending
One of the most important things you can do to start getting out of debt is to monitor your spending. It’s easy to lose track of how much money is going out and coming in without a plan, but you must figure this out. You’ll need a budget, which can be as simple as a pad of paper and a pen. This will help you set goals, track your progress, and ultimately reach your financial goals.
If you want to get out of debt quickly, you need to be conscientious with your spending habits. Make a list of all the expenses that come up each week or month- groceries, clothing, household items-and. Keep an eye on those expenses. If you find yourself spending more than usual on certain items, try cutting back on those areas until they’re under control again.
Create a Debt Repayment Plan
You should start by creating a debt repayment plan. Your first step should be to calculate the amount of money you can afford to put towards your debt, whether it’s $25 or $200 per month. Next, figure out the interest rate on your debt and how long it will take to pay off your debts at this monthly payment. Once you’ve calculated these two values, use an online debt calculator and enter the values that correspond with your particular situation to see which method is best for you.
Consider Debt Relief Options
Debt relief programs are available for everyone regardless of income, credit score, or residence status. Some services that can help you potentially lessen your debt include debt management plans, debt settlement plans, and bankruptcy.
The best way to determine which is right for you is first to assess the severity of your situation and then choose the one that matches your needs. You should also consider what will happen if you select no action at all and how that might impact your credit score in the future.
Rediscover the Joy of Saving
If you have no way of paying down your debt, one thing you can do is to save more money. This might sound contradictory, but it’s not. The goal is to implement a savings plan that will give you enough money to invest in the markets or buffer against emergencies.
Understand the Consequences of Bankruptcy
If you are considering bankruptcy, be sure to educate yourself on the consequences by talking to Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers. Bankruptcy can wipe out unsecured debt, but it won’t eliminate your mortgage or secured debts like car loans or student loans. You will still be required to pay back what you owe under those agreements.
If you’re struggling to make payments, consider working with your creditors to set up a repayment plan that works for both of you. Your creditors may want you to miss some payments or stop paying altogether. This should only be done as a last resort, as this action could result in damaging your credit rating and making it harder for you to borrow money in the future.