Debt and stress are two common words in this day and age, and everyone is offering ideas on how to eliminate both. Unfortunately, there is no easy “fix”, and no quick way out.
1. Change your thinking. If you have champagne taste on a beer budget, you need to alter your thinking a little. A lot of people right now are experiencing the aftershock of a sagging economy, and the fact that lifestyles may need to be altered. If you are used to eating out several times a week at expensive restaurants, you might want to reconsider and start eating in more often. You may need to alter your normal buying routines, make some of last year’s clothes last one more season, and curtail major personal expenses.
2. Go over your monthly expenses and determine what can be pared down. You may be able to decrease your phone bill or cable bill by eliminating some features, or talk to the companies to see if they have new, money saving plans available.
3. Go over your insurance, both car and property. Compare prices at various companies and see if you can save some money. Even a savings of a few hundred a year will add up.
4. If you have a mortgage, you have probably already investigated the options of refinancing. There are a lot of programs out there now to assist those in trouble with payments. Likewise, there are programs that will help in credit card payments, however, you should be aware that not all offers are legitimate. Contact your credit card company first to see if rates can be lowered. Take advantage of card offers that may include interest free options and lower interest rates for transfers.
5. A lot of people bought homes back in the day when interest rates were low, jobs more plentiful, and the future looked brighter. While this is scarcely new news, and the market on homes is down, it may be necessary to downsize. If you really don’t need that large home and its higher taxes, insurances premiums, and utility bills, then relocating may be an option.
Unfortunately, debt and stress go hand in hand. However, stress is counterproductive in the long run. The best option is to find out where your money is going, what can be eliminated, and make a commitment to a new budget. You may very well be amazed at how much extra money you can scrape together when you need too, and how many unnecessary expenses you can do without.