New year, new you --- as 2015 gets underway, you might have a number of goals you want to achieve. If one of the goals is managing debt better, you aren’t alone: CESI has helped more than a quarter of a million people get on top of their debt and improve their financial health. Managing debt means finding ways to reduce the amount you owe and finding ways to make sure you don’t end up owing more in the future. Whether your debt is small or large, these tips should help you get a handle on it this year.
Find Ways to Cut Corners (and Costs)
One way to reduce your debt in 2015 is to find a way to shrink the payments you’ll owe. You can do this by transferring the balance on a credit card that has a high interest rate to a card with no interest or with a very low rate, if your credit is good enough. Another option is to enroll in a debt management program, which allows you to make a single payment each month, which is then distributed to all the companies you owe.
You might also consider eliminating certain debts from your life this year. If you have a car and are still making payments on it, it might make sense to sell the car to pay off the loan. You can either purchase a less expensive model, that you don’t need to borrow to buy, or change your method of getting around and start using public transit more or start walking or biking more, depending on where you live.
Use a Budget
According to the Federal Trade Commission, figuring out your income and your expenses is Step one when it comes to managing debt. If you haven’t already, make 2015 the year you create and stick with a budget. Your budget can really show you where all of your money goes each month and can help you figure out where you can trim expenses. After you make a budget, you might find that you’re spending a lot each month on your cell phone plan. If you switch to a cheaper plan, you put the money you save towards your debt. Or, you might realize that you’re spending hundreds of dollars on lunch out each weekday and that if you packed your lunch, you’d be a few hundred dollars closer to getting out of debt each month.
Pay Attention to Your Purchases
Getting on top of your debt in 2015 means spending less on things you don’t really need, but sort of want. Those things can be the blouse you bought on impulse while walking by a store on the way home, the daily deal coupon you bought because it seemed like a great offer, and the candy you toss in your cart while waiting in line at the supermarket checkout. Unsubscribing from daily deal email offers or from the sales offers sent by your favorite stores will help you avoid making extra purchases that seem like bargains but that aren’t in your budget. Sticking to a list at the supermarket and not shopping when hungry will help you cut down on impulse buy snacks when grocery shopping.
Make 2015 the year you finally get out of debt. Learning to budget and manage your finances will help you deal with debt not only this year but in the years to come.
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Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY