We are now on Week 3 of our Managing Your Monies series, and this week we are looking at debt. Debt can be a mountain of weight in our lives and can cause anxiety, depression and mental anguish for many. There are different types of debt and different ways by which we can find ourselves in debt, but they all mean the same thing: we owe another entity something.
Some people argue that there is good debt and bad debt, and if you look, you can get support for both sides of this debate. Regardless of where you stand on this debate, debt is still a weight on the lender and must be repaid. If we go with the Biblical understanding of debt however, we quickly learn we should not owe any man anything (Romans 13:7-8), but how would many pay for education, for homes and other big expenses?
Before we answer these questions in a future post, let’s deal with the debt we may already have. Here is a very basic and practical list on how to destroy debt:
1. Know What You Owe: Start at the beginning; know how much money you owe and who you owe. You may even need to call up different organizations and individuals to find this out, but once you know, you will be able to tackle them.
2. Pay Off The Smaller Ones First: It’s a lot easier to walk through a stream than an ocean, so work on paying off your smaller ones first and then move on to the larger ones. Be patient: it may have taken a day to get into debt, but it may take a few months (or years) to get out of debt.
3. Avoid Paying Off Debt By Creating More Debt: Resist the temptation of opening a new line of credit or getting a loan just to pay off another. These moves defeat the point of trying to get out of debt. When working towards pay off your debt, use monies you actually have and don’t have to payback.
4. Get Help If Needed: If after trying all these tips you are still not able to pay off your debt, get help! We are only sharing things we have learned and tried, we are not experts in these topics, so reach out to the experts or invest in a proven financial aid program for more assistance. We are proponents of the Dave Ramsey Financial Program, but this is just one out of the hundreds out there, so do you homework and seek help if you need it.
You may pay off past debt today, but how do you get a handle on current and future bills? Here are some more pointers we would like to share in this regard:
— Make Reminders Of All Your Due Dates: If you don’t know, paying bills late (especially credit cards) can wreck havoc on your credit score. Make it a priority to pay your bills on time. To help, make two sets of due date calendar reminders for ALL your bills. Create the first one for a week before the due date and the second for a day before, so that you are ahead of the deadlines and can pay them on time.
— Include Your Paychecks In Your Calendars: On the same calendar, include the dates you get paid. For some, your Direct Deposits (or deposited checks) may take a few days to clear, so write the actual day you can access your money in the calendar instead.
— Use Bill Pay Programs If Available: More banks, utility companies and organizations are making it easier to pay for items and services without having to mail payments in. If these systems are available (and free), use them if you feel comfortable paying for these over the phone or electronically.
— Factor In Fun! There are times you may need to save up to attend a wedding, make a charitable donation, buy a special gift or go on vacation. Plan for it and enjoy it!
We hope that this post has given you some encouragement. If you would like to add anything to the information shared, please let us know.
As mentioned earlier, we are not financial experts. The information we share in this series are points that have worked for us. For assistance with your own personal situation, we encourage you to seek professional advice.