10 Tips to get out of debt

Debt – A few years after getting into the real world to work (after 2 and the half years of National Service), I passed tables where banks urged people to fill out a credit card application, bribing us with a free t-shirt, powerbank, water bottle or key chain. They received pre-approved offers in the mail, and within three years most people owned 5-10 credit cards and owed more than $10,000.

Things really went downhill for these affected people. For some, in less than a year, they lost their job and the credit got even worse: owing more than $15,000. For those who bought a car, stopped making payments and the car was repossessed ending up owing a few thousand dollars more on top of the $15,000+ that was initially already owed.

Simply put yourself on a budget and set up payment plans with each creditor. Finding a part-time job to pay the debt. Some worked 2 jobs for one year. However, the entire process to become completely debt-free took four years. Here are 10 techniques you can use to pay the debt:

1. Reduce expenses. Reduce your expenses to find extra money to pay down your debts such as: pack your lunch for work every day; buy items on sale or shop at a wholesale store such as Costco; carpool or take public transportation to work; cancel your cable, cell phone or Internet service or get the cheapest plan possible; buy energy efficient appliances, programmable thermostats or hot water insulator jackets

2. Sell some items. Sell some assets such as jewelry, a second car and clothing, or hold a yard sale to sell unused items on Carousell

3. Set up a debt payoff plan. Setup a debt payoff plan to prioritize your bills. By using the debt snowball method you will be able to quickly pay off some of your debts. Start by paying off the smallest bills first, then use the money paid towards a previous bill and apply it to the next bill, and continue this process until all your debts are paid

4. Set up a payment plan. Set up a payment plan with each of your creditors to pay off your debts. Be honest, humble and sincere. Identify any terms and negotiations you would like to make and stick to the terms

5. Reduce your interest rate. If you have a decent credit score and have not made any late payments in the past year, you can negotiate with your creditors to lower your interest rate

6. Pay more than the minimum monthly payment. If you pay only the minimum monthly payment, you will end up paying 2 to 3 times what you actually charged due to the interest and finance charges that accrues on your balance. Try to send extra towards your balance each month

7. Don’t transfer balances. Transferring balances to another credit card may lower your credit score and there may be fees associated with transferring the balance. It is important to pay off the full balance before the introductory rate special ends, because after the introductory rate ends the interest rate may drastically increase

8. Collection Accounts. An account is usually reported to a collection agency if the account is 90 to 120 days late. Contact the original creditor to see if you can set up a payment plan. If you are unsuccessful, contact the collection agency to set up a payment plan

9. Settlement. Some creditors will negotiate with you by asking for a reduced amount “settlement” to settle the account in exchange for paying the debt quickly; however, it is best to pay the full amount because a settlement reported on your credit report may lower your credit score

10. Pay with cash. Pay for purchases with cash until your credit card balances are paid in full. If you pay for an item with a credit card you end up paying more than the original cost of the item

While you are in the process of paying off debts, if a creditor continues to call you and is harassing you, inform them of your particular situation, get the person’s name, date and time they called and tell them when you will be able to make a payment. Don’t apply for new credit, get a payday loan or cash advance. Following these 10 tips will help you get out of debt and be on your way to a debt-free life.