Top 10 Tips to Reduce Your Debt
James R. Moses has compiled his tips to help you reduce your debt in Edmonton before it overwhelms your finances.
1) Keep track of your spending: A simple spread sheet where you jot down what you spend in a day can give you a good indication of where cuts can be made. Nothing is too small to be listed, from that hamburger you had for lunch to the change you fed into parking meters.
2) Make a budget: know what you have to spend and don't exceed it. Add up all the money you have coming in and compare it to what you are spending. A detailed budget will help free up money to be used elsewhere, including paying down other debts.
3) Put needs before wants: Buy what you need first and eliminate unnecessary expenses. Identify things you can live without and cheaper ways of doing things you don't want to give up, like canceling a gym membership in favour of jogging or working out at home.
4) When possible, use cash instead of credit to ensure you’re spending money you actually have. If you do use your credit card, keep a close eye on what you're putting on it and make sure to pay off your balance every month to avoid interest charges.
5) Avoid "buy now, pay later" offers. These are often found in places like furniture stores and may seem appealing when you need to buy a new couch but are strapped for cash. But those offers often come with high administrative fees and interest.
6) Reduce small, recurring expenses: A dollar here and a dollar there throughout the day will add up quickly. Consider making coffee at home instead of buying one on the way into work and put those extra twoonies aside for your next important purchase.
7) Reduce your banking fees: use ATMs at your own bank to avoid usage charges with other companies, which can be as high as $3 per transaction. Be aware of what your bank charges for ATM withdrawals and look for bank accounts with low or no monthly fees.
8) Pay your highest interest rate first: when faced with credit card debt and lines of credit, focus on getting rid of the debt costing you the most in interest. Make the minimum payment on all accounts to avoid penalties, but put extra on your most expensive debt.
9) Seek advice from financial services. There are many options to consider when looking for help getting your finances in order. Visit your bank and ask to speak to someone, or talk to an independent financial planner about the best way to tackle your debt.
10) Get a consolidation loan: If you have debt spread out on several credit cards and lines of credit, consider getting a loan to pay them all off in one shot. You will be left with only having to make a single payment on the loan, but be careful not to run up your balance once you have paid it off.