If youre finding your debt payments are increasing but your salary is stuck in place, youre not alone. Millions of Americans are making the mistake of living a lifestyle thats not in synch with their take-home pay. Unfortunately, when that paycheck doesnt increase, a natural tendency is to purchase more items on credit to keep pace with the Joness. It makes for an ugly cycle, but one you pull yourself out of by following a few simple tips:
1. Less is more. The first thing you should consider is spending less. Easier said than done, but the reality of the situation is that you are spending too much if you dont have the cash to pay off your balance at the end of the month. Tempting as it may be, you should only reach for the plastic if youre absolutely certain that you can pay off that credit card bill in full at the end of every month. If you dont get a handle on your spending debts, your debts will put a stranglehold on your bank account.
2. Defeat your debt one card at a time. If you owe balances on several credit cards, pay them off one at a time. Make at least the minimum payments on each balance every month, but plan on paying much more than the minimum amount on the card with the smallest balance. Once the lowest balance card has been paid off, start making larger payments on the card with the next highest balance. With each card that you pay off, youll pick up momentum and be in a better position to pay off the other cards.
3. Refinance debt. If at all possible, renegotiate the interest rates you are being charged by credit card companies. Some companies will lower your rate, especially if they sense that the higher rate could cause you to default on your loan. If your credit card company refuses to drop their high rates, consider transferring your funds to a card with a lower rate. You may want to mention to your current credit card provider that you plan on making a move away from them if they will not give you a lower rate. A little leverage can go a long way.
Paying off your debt can help you in many ways. Once you pay off your debt, youll be in a better position to make purchases based on what you can afford. Getting out of debt will improve your standard of living as you shake free of those credit card balances and use your newfound cash flow to build wealth.
While youre currently in the same boat as many Americans, at least youre not up a creek without a paddle. Follow the steps above, and instead of trying to swim upstream, youll be going with the cash flow.