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Create a debt reduction strategy

Gone are the days where you had to save up for what you wanted because easy credit wasn’t an option. We live in a world where you can have what you want today and pay for it later. That's causing some people to be in situations where they're taking on more debt than they are comfortable with.

If you feel you might be in a situation where your debt is growing faster than you pay it off, we can help you find a plan to get things back to normal.

A debt reduction strategy is one way, but here are some other ideas that might help:

Understand your situation

Add up the total amount of your debt, excluding your mortgage if you have one. You’ve probably been focusing on your monthly payments. It’s time to see the big picture. How much do you owe in total? You need to know. Now look at your minimum monthly debt payments, including your mortgage. If the total is close to or over your monthly income, you may require professional help to manage your debt.

Account for your money

Track your money and see what you are spending each month, then develop a new budget. The budget should not be what you spend now. That’s what got you into trouble. Cut costs wherever you can. Reduce your cable and phone plans. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions. Stop eating out. Stay away from shopping malls. Reduce as many discretionary expenses as you can so you put more money toward the debt.

Develop a schedule

Schedule time at least twice a month to sit down and pay bills, balance your budget and file your important papers. Staying organized helps you keep your focus.

Ask your credit card companies for a rate reduction

Call your credit card company and ask to speak to someone with the authority to reduce your rate. Even a small reduction in the rate can save you hundreds of dollars.

Transfer your high interest debt

Transfer the balances of your highest debt (usually a credit card) to a low interest credit card or line of credit. If you have a lot of high interest debt, a consolidation loan may be your best option.
After doing this you must not access that high interest credit again. Talk to your financial advisor about the best option for your situation.

Pay off your high interest debt first

Identify the debt with the highest interest rate. Make the monthly minimum payments to all of your other debts and use the rest of your debt payment budget on the high interest debt. Do that every month until the first debt is paid. Then move to the debt with the next highest interest rate and repeat the process. Note: you may want to pay debts with tax deductible interest last.

Sell some of your assets

Do you have three cars but only need two or one? Do you own recreational vehicles (boat, RV) that you only use once a year? Consider selling these items to pay your debt. Remember, they are contributing to your budget problems with extra expenses such as storage and insurance.

Earn more money

You may need to consider taking a second job or working some overtime for a while until you get your debt under control.

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