If you are dealing with credit and debt, you aren’t alone. You have a great opportunity to assess your financial situation and make a plan to move forward. The average American household has a balance of about $6,600 in credit card debt, and that’s not taking into account home, auto, and student loans. Paying off your debt is successful with a little planning. In fact, a plan can go a long way toward achieving your financial goals. Even in a time of financial uncertainty, there are ways to address and manage credit so it works for you.
Here are seven suggestions to consider so you can save more, plan for the future, and live life financially well.
1. Get an idea of what you are currently spending.
To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’re coming from. Are you spending more than you make? Do you have excess money each month that you could be putting toward your debts? Use GreenPath's budgeting worksheet to get an idea of how much money you have coming in vs. going out each month.
2. Take a look at your spending habits.
Once you have a full financial picture of your monthly surplus (or deficit), figure out what your spending habits are and how you might change them to get out of debt. Maybe you’re spending too much on subscription services – or realize you’re spending more than you allotted for groceries each month.
3. Prioritize expenses and identify areas where you may be able to save.
Once you have an idea of where you are spending and why, see if there are areas where you can cut back. If you need some extra help deciding where to make cuts, this Aligning Priorities workbook offers information to prioritize your expenses. Hold yourself accountable, and check back in on your spending habits.
Great, you’ve made a plan! But are you sticking with it?
4. Check the plan.
Plan your paychecks and check back to see how your actual spending compares with your plan. It may be helpful to sit down and highlight your expenses to see if your spending habits are in line with your goal, or if you might need to change things up a bit. Make adjustments as you need to by printing your statements, and highlighting anything that you may not need or want anymore.
5. Automate everything.
Set up direct deposits and automated payments so that you don’t miss due dates and get hit with a late fee. Use alerts and overdraft protection to help you avoid mistakes.
6. Choose a debt payoff strategy that works for your situation.
Many people consider paying the minimum on all debts and focus extra payments on one debt at a time. When you pay one account off, they redirect the monthly payment to the next one in line, adding it to the minimum they were paying already. This way, each time you pay off one debt, your payment on the next one gets bigger. This could be a good approach for you to consider.
7. Look into a debt management plan.
Depending on your situation, there may be options for you to get out of debt more quickly. If you have high-interest credit cards or other unsecured debts, a debt management plan could be just what you need to get out of debt for good.
A debt management plan works with your creditors to bring your accounts current, lower interest rates, and eliminate fees. This means that more of your payment goes toward reducing your account balances. It can help you pay off debts faster and save money on interest. An added benefit is that once the debt management plan is established, diminishing collection calls and creditor balances help reduce worry and stress about your debt situation.
*Logix has partnered with GreenPath Financial Wellness to give members access to additional financial wellness content, including this blog article. Views and opinions expressed in the financial wellness content are those of GreenPath and may not always represent the views and opinions of Logix Federal Credit Union. Logix Federal Credit Union is not affiliated with GreenPath, and is a separate entity.
Please contact Logix at (800) 328-5328 or visit www.lfcu.com if you have any questions about this topic or would like to consider opening an account.
This blog is intended for informational purposes only.
Logix is Federally Insured by NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender.