Nearly 3 in 10 of us expect to be worse in 2020 than we were in 2019. Maybe we’re talking some serious student loan or credit card debt, or maybe you just spent a little more over Christmas than planned; whatever your level of debt may be it is always better for both your mental and financial health to live debt free if possible.
Using the right tools and techniques, make 2020 the year you get yourself out of debt!
1. Stop the spiral
This is the first step you need to make but is probably the most difficult of all. Once you are in a spiral of debt you become accustomed to borrowing money to cover old debts, or living on credit on a monthly basis, because debt begets debt.
It can be difficult to make the move to stop borrowing, as you feel you need to supplement your income in order to cover your current debt and maintain your lifestyle. However, by stopping yourself taking on more debt you are taking the first important step.
2. Choose a system
Part of the stress, and expense, of having multiple debts is that you need to keep track of the payments dates, amounts, and the interest you are paying on each one. You need to find a way to tackle this that works for you, and there are a number of different methods you can consider.
The debt snowball method can help you pay off debt in a clear systematic way.
Consolidation loans are another alternative for those who wish to simplify their life by making just one payment a month with only one rate of interest.
3. Up your income
You may feel you are in a position at work to ask for a raise, in which case you should do so. However, for those of us who do not work in an environment where that is possible, there are a number of ways you can up your income to help supplement your debt repayments.
Getting a second job for a limited amount of time whilst you pay off your debt may be a good idea. You can work in the evenings or at the weekends to earn that little extra.
Making money from your hobby is also a way of making extra money by doing something you love.
4. Cut costs
At the end of the day, you are highly unlikely to clear your debts if your income is less than your outgoings. Scour your budget and your monthly bank statements to look for any places in your life where you can cut costs and make savings. You may need to change the place you do your food shopping, move to a cheaper neighbourhood, lower your phone or utility bills, or cancel subscriptions.
5. Find a community
Dealing with anything alone can become stressful and overwhelming, so finding a community of people who can offer support and guidance as well as first hand experience can be liberating. The Oval Money community, for example, is a closed community that offers Oval users a space to talk about their experiences with the app, as well as share tips and advice on how to save, and answer each others questions.
What’s important is that you do not isolate yourself with your debt – make sure you take steps to conquer it and get the help you need to do so.