I was reading a startling article a few days ago that for the first time since 1933, the U.S. savings rate hit the lowest level. This is scary!
We spend more money than we make, and we are accumulating debt at an alarming pace. But we have to understand that we will not be truly free until we are debt-free. I think the main problem is a lack of financial education. We certainly don’t learn it in High School. We think we know how to handle our finances, but the reality is that we don't. We live for the present. We are consumers, big time consumers. Not only do we have a habit of spending the money we have, but we also spend the money we don't have (Do the words "Visa" and "Mastercard" ring a bell?).
But we can become debt free, with some education, planning and perseverance. I can highlight a few points here to get you started when you are ready to take control of your finances, and you can get more from our website.These are some points that we consider extremely important when handling debt:
1- Seek help whenever possible. Don't be afraid to ask! We found that some people never ask for help, whether for ego, shame or simply because it is a touchy subject, they get stressed out just by thinking about it.
2- Develop a budget. We cannot stress this hard enough. You DO need to know exactly what your monthly expenses are. You need to know how much interest you are paying on each account. You can download a sample Budget Spreadsheet from our site, or you can create your own. But until you know exactly where your money is going, it will be very hard to get out of debt.
3- Once you know what your expenses are, look at the interest you are paying in each of your accounts, and make a decision to pay off the account with the highest interest rate first. Make the minimum payment on all other accounts if you need to, but always send more money to the account that is the most expensive to you. Once you pay that account off, do the same with the account with the next highest interest rate.3- Cut off (or, at least, cut down) any and all trivial expenses. I know this is hard to do, but don't take your eyes off your goal, which should be to become debt free in the shortest possible time (set a date!)
4- Pay your bills on time. Some credit cards will charge you between $30 and $50 as a "late payment fee". This is money you could be using to pay down your bills. (imagine this: 5 times in a year that you pay your bills late, and it could mean over $200 in late fees!)
6- Try to get a second job or a part-time business. The extra money (even if it's small) could also help you a lot in the long run. More and more people are starting an Internet business, since it can be an ideal part-time business. We give you some ideas in our site. And remember, you can become debt free with some education, planning and perseverance. Make it a priority to get out debt!
For additional articles and resources visit our website at: http://www.overcome-debt.com