Everyone desires a life of financial freedom. Nevertheless, to have financial freedom, it is necessary that one must be debt free. Someone deep in debt cannot enjoy financial freedom.
Today, there are so many things money can be spent on. Talk about transport, accommodation, food, clothing, communication, water, electricity, etc. And for many people, so also is the number of bills they have to pay.
With all these responsibilities in a country which we all know is struggling with her economy, as well as the fact that in our society a lot of people have dependents parading as members of the extended family. This category of people may end up falling into one form of debt or the other.
According to financial experts, as compelling as the excuses for being indebted may be, the fact remains that the implication of being indebted are mostly negative. Actually, being in debt has ruined many people. It has the ability of leaving people frustrated, embarrassed, and depressed. You will agree with me that all these originally have more grave implications. Many people had committed suicide upon realizing that they are facing bankruptcy (especially when they've given up all hope that they can pay again). And many others have turn to crime.
Irrespective of your situation, it is very crucial to avoid debt at all cost. Are you already indebted? It is important to pay off your debt as soon as you can. Why? It is because failure to do so can only increase the chances of your situation becoming worst. But, how can one go about it?
Try these tips:
1. Avoid Sinking Into More Debts:
Many financial experts say the first step to take in a bid to be free from debt is to avoid falling into new debts. According to them, when you are already in debt, you should try everything possible to prevent accumulating another set of debts by shunning plans and lifestyles which are likely to get you into more debts. At this point, determination is very required.
What is important is for one to avoid taking more loans or credit to finance one's needs. What you should do instead is to come up with a plan to help you manage your finances better. Ensure you get full details about your debts. Get a list of all your debts (the amount owed, interest rates, payment dates, and the consequence of defaulting), this is important.
2. Strive Curbing Your Spending:
After getting details about your debts, it doesn't stop there. After this, it is quite important that you reduce your expenditure. At this point, one needs to cultivate new habits. At this point, even if you have never tried it before, one needs to learn to live a frugal life. In the attempt to achieve this, it is eminent that one consciously makes an effort to understand the need to (and how to) manage one's finances effectively.
To achieve success in this, it's important to ask yourself these simple questions: 'What do I spend my money on?' 'Do I know what it means to spend beyond my means?' Am I spending too much?' 'Is my expenditure determined by my needs or by my wants?' Then you wonder, 'how will I determine all these?
To determine all these, experts advise that you write down all your expenditure, no matter how little it is. Yes, the idea of writing down every expense one make can be irritating. But experts say the positives of doing so are invaluable.
N.B: Many people are making the mistake of noting down only major expenses. You know one of the reasons I called it a mistake? It is simply because for many, the bulk of their expenses may have been on 'little items and things (like snacks, movies, etc)
Thus, since it is obvious that many people spend more on little items than they do on purchases, then it is necessary to always note everything down, irrespective of how 'little' they are. Meaning, you are to take note on every amount you spend on recharge card, on transport, on soft drinks, and all those other things you consider to be 'miscellaneous'.
3. Make Budget Cuts:
Once you note what you spend money on, you will get to know the items you spend money on regularly, even though you don’t need them. This information will then help one to make a budget that will prevent one from repeating the same errors. The reason for adequate budgeting is not to eliminate wasteful spending alone, but also to help one make the necessary decisions and sacrifices that would improve savings enough to pay off one's debts.
Again, you need to ask yourself such questions like: 'What are the things I can do without?' 'What can I do without for a month or two?' The main thing here is that, one's budget has to ensure that one avoid all unnecessary expenditure.
Budget cuts don’t apply to individuals alone. Even countries do it. Following the global recession, many countries have been compelled to reduce budgets or take difficult economic decisions in the bid to get their economies back on track. Keeping to this schedule would be beneficial if you adhere to your programs throughout.
4. A Solution: Come Up With A Payment Plan:
It is important that one have a clear plan to help one get out of one's debts. Avoiding more debts, curbing one's spending, pruning down budgets, is not to be carried out independently: they have to be part of a clear debt management plan which has the ultimate goal of ensuring that one become debt-free.
Your payment plan has to be realistic, and making it realistic and implementable will require that you priorities the payments you make. You are unlikely to pay all your debts at once. So, sit, and once again, ask yourself questions like: 'Which should I start with?' 'Which is likely to have more implications for me?' 'Which has the highest interest rates?'
All these have to be considered when one is coming up with a payment plan. It is also important that going forward, you pay your bills promptly. Why? It is because, some of the debts people have accumulated are debts they could have avoided as they had the money to pay at the time they made the purchase, but just because they could pay at some other time, they opted to wait. Paying bills promptly will prevent one from accumulating debt.
5. Strive To Increase Your Income:
While taking all of the steps we've talked about, it is also very important that you work towards increasing your earnings. A step in this direction may involve selling off some of your property, or get a job you can do in your spare time. These extra incomes will be useful in the bid to pay off one's debts.
In conclusion, as tough as the times might be for you, you need to ensure that you keep some money aside for emergencies also. Why is that necessary? It is because, failure to do this may see your plans ruined by an emergency. Remember, tough times require tough measures.