In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to go through life without acquiring some sort of debt. Whether you’re dealing with a mortgage, a car loan, credit cards or student loans, at some point you’re going to have to pay up. Here are a few quick tips that can help you escape debt burdens, and allow you to make progress on your real money goals.
The good, the bad and the ugly
Some debt can ultimately benefit your future, like a student loan for college. Or, help you establish good credit for when you need to rent an apartment or are looking to take out a mortgage. But, with any debt, there’s always a bad side: the interest rates can be extremely high and so can penalties for missing payments. Both things can set you back and make it hard to get caught up. Instead of considering a loan or credit card, attempt to pay as much cash as you can up front, so things don’t get ugly.
Your credit card should be in line with your goals and your finances. Regardless of how great the credit card rewards may seem, if you only plan on paying the minimum amount of your balance, the interest rate should be your concern. If you plan on paying your credit card in full each month, a high interest rate may not be an issue for you. But, you should still consider if there are annual fees involved.
As for your home, the mortgage should also match up with your goals. Long-term fixed-rate mortgages are for you if you plan to live there for a long time, or if you can’t afford to pay an increase in payments if the rate rises.
Move it or lose it
Consider transferring high-interest credit card balances to one with a low interest rate. A zero percent balance transfer credit card can provide you some relief and buy you time. If you have zero percent APR for just 12 months, you’ll still be saving. But, keep in mind that there may be some fees for transferring.
Help is on the way
If your debt is getting out of hand, it’s okay to ask for help. You can ask for your interest rate to be lowered on your credit cards and negotiate other bills. When all else fails, that’s what the professionals are there for.
Knock your debt out, once and for all
It may take discipline and sacrifice, but paying down your debt will make things much easier in the long run. Prioritize your debt according to the rates, and consider paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Once you’re done with that, you can focus on crossing the next one off the list.
Debt can be a scary thing! But, once you come face to face with the challenge ahead, you can set out on your mission to become financially stable. Keeping these things in mind can help you get in control of your debt and not the other way around.
If your debt has impacted your credit score, we’ve got the tools to help you get back on track and establish or re-establish your credit.