How to Manage your Debt

I really don’t know of anyone who isn’t in debt for one thing or another. I know that I am, and it’s all medical bills.

I make payments religiously once a month, every month, and they are all coming down slowly, but it will still take time to get them behind me. I didn’t get into debt by choice, I had two hospital stays, and had to go on disability. I was turned down twice on my disability, even with letters from my primary Physician, and my Cardiologist.

All I ask my bill collectors to do, was to hold on until I got my disability through. They refused. Everything was sent to collection. That with interest, will take years to pay off. All I ask for, was a little time. Now my good credit is shot for the rest of my life.

What I have learned from all of this is; At least try to set up a payment plan, even if it is only $5.00 a month. I’ll tell you right now, some will refuse to take such a small amount. I have a denied check to prove this. I sent a collector $25.00 and they sent it back with a letter of refusal. The amount was not enough for them to have to deal with. I didn’t think that this was actually possible, or legal, but unfortunately, it is a fact of life.

Don’t ever depend on money being in your account until you have verified this with the bank. Always remember to deduct any automatic withdrawals. I pay my rent, then put in my withdrawals, and deduct them at the start of every month.

I always pay my bills right after the first of the month, even though some of them aren’t due until the 25th. I just go ahead, and get it over with. Whatever is left, is what I buy groceries with. Some months are even harder if something comes up, like a new battery for the car. $75.00 in one lump sum. That hurt. Later on down the road, the starter went out on the car. The cost on that was over $250.00. I had to have it towed in, which cost extra.

Don’t over extend your outgo, unless you have enough income to cover it. It’s easy to get into trouble when you’re trying to beat it to the bank. Overdrafts can set you back three months, if not more. So be wise, no matter how bad you want something, take care of your needs before you go for the wants. There’s an old saying; “If your outgo is more than your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.” That puts perspective to it, doesn’t it.

Don’t hold too many credit cards. When you have to start paying on your first credit card with your second card, you know you are in big trouble. If you pay the minimal payment, all you’re doing is paying on the interest, not the principle. You’ll never get it paid off.

Credit cards are handy in some cases, but when you spend more than you can pay on it the first of the month, it starts adding up fast. It’s easy to get into debt, but it’s really hard to get out. I could use a credit card once in a while, but I won’t do it. I know how easy it is to get in over my head.

As I am getting my bills paid down, when I get one paid off, I take that amount and put it on another bill. So each bill payed off, gives me more to pay on the ones I still owe. It is really working. And it feels good everytime I can write PAID IN FULL on the check. One more down, and one less to pay.

Sure it has taken a little time, but it’s working better than I thought it would. I just couldn’t see any way to pay off all of these medical bills in my lifetime. I’m actually down to having two left to pay, and I think I can get one of them paid off in the next two months. The payments I was making on all of the rest will now go on the last collection agency, until it is paid.

I have a goal, and I plan to fulfill that goal before my life is over. Persistance, consistency, obligation, and determination are four things you need. Don’t spend what you haven’t got. Try to put back a little each month for unexpected necesssities, such as batteries, and car starters. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I filled my car FULL of gas. It’s not a necessity. It can’t afford to be. I very seldom go anywhere, so it’s not a problem.

Usually people will work with you on a payment plan. Some are not so kind, but you can’t give what you don’t have. Send the payment in, and if they send it back, send it right back. They don’t have a leg to stand on as long as you have been trying.

If you can get people to work with you, and be consistant in paying on your debt monthly, it will lower your stress level considerably. You’ll still get monthly bills, but you won’t get nasty threatening letters and nasty phone calls. Try it and see if it helps you. I’m slowly accomplishing what I thought was the impossible.