Steps to Reduce and Manage Your Debt
Until you get a handle on your debt, you probably aren’t going to be able to overcome it. In fact, without a proper debt management strategy, you’re likely to get into even more debt because you aren’t fully aware of what you’re doing and how it’s impacting your financial situation. These tips from the experts at York Credit Services can help you reduce and manage your debt so that you can live a less stressful life.
Take Stock of Your Debts
The first key toward getting out of debt and managing your finances is knowing how much debt you owe in the first. This isn’t a fun part of learning how to manage your debt, but it’s necessary. You must know which debts are dragging you down with their interest rates.
Make a list of every debt you owe, along with the name of the creditor and the interest rate you’re paying on each debt. Include the amount you’re paying toward each debt every month so you can see exactly where your money is going. Having all your debts listed in a single place gives you visibility into your finances that’s easy to lose when you’re just making payments when they’re due.
Check Your Credit Score and Report
Request a free copy of your credit report from both of Canada’s main credit bureaus: Equifax and Transunion. Compare your list of debts to those on your report to make sure you haven’t forgotten about one. This is also a good opportunity to make sure there are no accounts you don’t recognize, which can cause your credit score to be lower than it should be. Plus, that’s an indication that someone has stolen your ID.
If you do find discrepancies on your credit report, contact the creditors and work to solve the issues. It won’t do you any good to manage your debt if someone else is taking out credit cards and loans in your name. Cleaning up your credit report and monitoring it frequently will allow you to stop anything nefarious in its tracks.
Be Honest About Your Spending
Reducing your debt and managing it properly means taking a good, hard look at what you’re spending every month that is contributing to the hole you’re in. You can’t get out of debt unless you stop spending or you make more money and it’s far easier to curtail the amount of money leaving your account than it is to find a higher-paying job or work multiple jobs, especially if you’re spending it on unnecessary purchases.
Track your expenses for one month to determine exactly what you’re spending your money on and add it to your debts. Find places where you can cut back and begin applying that money you save to your debts. This will start reducing the amount you owe and allow you to establish healthier spending habits.
After you’ve made your lists, look for debts you can consolidate to lower your interest rates and monthly payments. A credit services agency can help you identify lower-interest loans that can combine two or more of your higher-interest debts and lower your monthly payments.