Matter out of place

Personal finance weblog focusing on debt management and credit card debt

Need Extra Help With Debt?

Do your bills cost more than you make? Try these tips to get things back on track.

Sell what you don’t need
Eliminate the things that you don’t use first. Anything that you haven’t touched in a year should go. Don’t forget to go through your closet to get rid of those old clothes. Vintage Barbie dolls and antique baseball cards should go too. Sell all those little collectibles that are sitting around collecting dust. Get an Ebay account, and find someone else who wants that crap more than you do. It translates to money in your pocket, and creates an opportunity for you to downsize.

Reduce spending
This is often difficult because we think that we need so many things that are really luxuries. Consider one family in Mexico City. They live in a small home that they built of mud and scraps of wood and other materials found in the trash. Their needs are really the same as ours but, as Americans, we think that we need things that are really unnecessary. Things like cable television, cell phones, a car, and designer clothes are not necessities. Stop spending on those things you can really do without. You will find that there are free ways to replace the same things, as well as alternatives that can enrich your life. Go to a library instead of watching cable. Use public transportation instead of driving your own car. Try a thrift shop rather than buying your clothes at a department store. Not only will these practices save you some money, but many of them will also have a positive impact on our environment and give you an opportunity to meet new people.

Consider ways to make more money
How much do you make now? Could you perform the same tasks and get paid more somewhere else? Do you have other skills that you could employ to make more money? Give these ideas some thought if you are overextended. You may want to take a better paying job, even if you prefer to do something else. This could help you get out of debt.

Another way to make more money is to work more. Try to get more hours at your current job. Look for other places to work when you are not at your primary job. You may even want to consider a network marketing or home-based business that allows you flexible hours and the potential to make more money.

For instance, I invest in real estate when I’m not working on Web sites. I look for properties that I can acquire with little or no down payment. Then I rent them out or sell them for a profit. I’ll touch on that more a little later. But there are lots of lucrative ways to make more money in your spare time. Think of ways to use the skills that you have to increase your wealth. Your current skills are the fastest way to change your financial situation.

Talk to your creditors
An important, and often overlooked procedure that everyone should take when bills exceed income is calling the creditors. Their primary objective is to get their money back, but if you have fallen on hard times, they will often be reasonable. For instance, student loans can be put into forbearance in most situations when you are unable to pay. Forbearance typically lasts 6 months, which could be just long enough to eliminate another debt. Other debtors will allow you to skip a payment, adding it to the end of your loan term. Some credit card companies will even lower your interest rate, or allow you to pay a lower minimum payment while you are recovering financially. In any case, your creditors want to know that you are responsible and that you intend to pay them back. You can easily prove this by making a simple telephone call and asking for help BEFORE you are behind on your payments.

Take these steps, and you can soon have money left over after you pay your bills.

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