Debt can be overwhelming as a student loan, credit card, mortgage, and rent payments begin to add up. However, when managed properly, debt can be a good thing as it can help build your creditworthiness profile and help you to achieve your financial goals.
Debt is one of those glaring words that often comes up when people talk about their finances. It’s something almost everyone faces at some point in their lives — but having debt can be a good thing — if it helps you achieve your financial goals. If you find yourself overwhelmed with debt — whether it be student loan or credit card debt — don’t panic. There are options, like low-interest rate personal loans, that may put you on the path to financial success.
How to Know When You’re In Over Your Head with Debt
The first step to managing debt is understanding if you are in fact in over your head. Is your financial situation causing you to lose sleep at night? Are you finding that you’re barely getting by financially — living paycheck to paycheck—struggling to make ends meet? If so, you may be overwhelmed with debt.
Here are 7 true tale signs that you’re in over your head with debt:
- You’re falling behind on or can barely make your minimum monthly payments.
- You’re maxed out on credit cards.
- Balances on your accounts keep rising.
- You’re unable to save money for emergencies.
- Your credit score is low or declining.
- You’re getting denied for credit by lenders.
- You’re bouncing checks and your bank accounts are overdrawn.
Ways to Manage Your Debt.
The most important thing you can do to start managing your debt is to acknowledge that you’ve over-extended yourself and take action to overcome your financial burden.
These 6 tips may quickly help you get a handle on your debt.
- Stop using credit cards:
If you have open lines of credit on credit cards it could be easy to run up more debt by making unnecessary purchases. An easy way to avoid temptation is to stop using cards by getting rid of them. Keep in mind, leaving some older open lines of credit open could help your credit score since 15% of your credit rating is typically based on the length of time you’ve been managing credit.
- Cut back on spending:
Make a list of everything you spend each month and decide where you can economize. Is your cable bill too high? Are there ways you can reduce your electric bill? Can you part with some of your monthly membership costs — like application or magazine subscriptions? Eliminate unnecessary expenses, create a budget and stick to it.
- Tackle high-interest rate credit cards first and double up on monthly payments:
Once you’ve identified ways to cut back on unnecessary costs, make a list of all the balances you owe on credit cards and the interest rates you’re being charged. Then, think about using the money you’re saving on extraneous expenses to double up on your monthly credit card payments — tackling the higher interest rate cards first.
- Negotiate interest rates with creditors:
Call your credit card companies to see if they’re willing to reduce your interest rate to keep you as a customer or prevent you from going past due on your accounts. To help with negotiation, shop around for other credit card offers and know your credit score.
- Boost your income with a side hustle or a seasonal part-time job:
Consider taking on a side job like driving with a ride-sharing company, freelancing, pet-sitting, tutoring or taking on a seasonal part-time job. Adding a little more income to your life with something you enjoy doing could help you pay down debt.
- Consolidate debt with a low-interest rate personal loan through a reputable lender:
Another way you can manage your debt is to consider consolidating high-interest rate balances with a low-interest rate personal loan. In addition to a fixed low-interest rate, a personal loan may offer a predetermined monthly payment and repayment term to help you get out of debt sooner. Do some research to make sure the lender is reputable by reading customer reviews and vetting the lender through trustworthy online resources such as the Better Business Bureau, Lending Tree, Trustpilot, Credit Karma, and BestCompany.com.
How a Debt Consolidation Loan May Help You Manage Debt.
A debt consolidation loan may help you manage debt by offering:
- Lower fixed interest rates that help you save money.
- One monthly payment versus several — if you qualify for a personal loan that allows you to consolidate all outstanding balances.
- An established timeline for repayment so you know exactly when your loan will be paid off — if you make your payments on time.
- No access to credit on the loan as you repay what you borrow, so you won’t be tempted to run up more debt.
Visit Best Egg’s debt consolidation page to find out if a consolidation loan is right for you.