Debt is an easy problem to get into, but a tricky one to get out of. You must do so much more than pay off a few credit cards to live a debt-free life. There are huge changes that must be made before you make even the slightest bit of difference. The decision to get out of debt can definitely change your life, but only if you’re willing to put the effort in. Unfortunately, even when you give it your all, it might not be good enough. Far too often, people make fatal mistakes while paying off debt, often without even realizing it. With that in mind, here are seven you must avoid.
Paying Without A Plan
While paying off any debt is certainly helpful, you must have a plan if you want to do so effectively. Most people believe that the best way to clear debt is from the highest interest rate to the lowest interest rate, or in the order of largest to smallest. However, doing the opposite tends to work out best. This is because, when you pay off debts from smallest to largest, you gain momentum. It takes you less time to clear your first debt, so you feel that satisfaction sooner.
Keeping Those Same Habits
Us humans are definitely creatures of habit. We shop at the same stores, eat at the same restaurants, and drink at the same bars. Spending money is no exception to this rule. The trouble is, it’s your spending habits that likely got you into debt in the first place. This means that, if you want to get out of debt sooner and stay debt-free, you will have to make changes. Start by cutting unnecessary costs out of your budget and then use online tools to comparison shop.
Forgetting To Make Payments
Accidentally missing a payment can prove to be a costly blunder. Even if you remember only a few days late, you will likely be saddled with a late-payment charge, which only increases your debt. Automating your payments makes it impossible to forget to pay, as the money will leave your account automatically each month. If you have any extra money to play with, it’s easy to put it towards one of your debts, even if you have the bills set up to take the payments automatically.
Having No Emergency Savings
Before starting to pay off your debt, you must have an adequate emergency fund. No matter how well you plan your budget, there is always a chance that an unexpected expense will come up. Although there are certain circumstances, such as car accidents, in which you could seek compensation, you must still pay bills in the meantime. While these personal injury attorneys are competitive and reliable, they can’t do that for you. Only an emergency fund can cover the costs.
Closing Paid Off Accounts
When a debt is finally paid off, you will probably want to close the account in question as soon as you can. This will prevent you from taking on more debt and making your problems worse. Instead of doing so, however, you must find a way to resist borrowing money. Your credit score is determined by a number of factors, with one of the most important being how much credit you have available. If you wish to improve your score, therefore, you must leave the accounts open.
Doing It By Yourself
Many people struggle with debt because they try to deal with it by themselves. They avoid speaking about their struggles with anyone, even friends and relatives because they find it embarrassing. The problem is, if you were the one that got yourself into debt, you might not be best equipped to get yourself out again. This is why you have to ask for help. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to anyone you know, then call a nonprofit agency for free experts advice.
Listening To Bad Advice
Even if you tell your loved ones the trouble you’re in, listening to their advice probably isn’t the best idea. After all, most people make mistakes when it comes to money. Unless you can see that a friend or relative is financially stable and has dealt with your problems themselves, you should stick with professional feedback. The last thing that you want to do is get yourself even further into debt because you’re great uncle gave you a questionable financial tip.
We all struggle to pay off our debt, but if you avoid the mistakes above, you’ll find your journey to a debt-free life to be a much smoother one.
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