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In a financial fix? You’re not alone.
In the United States, the average household is estimated to have a whopping $132,158 in debt, more than $15,000 of which comes from our flexible friend, the credit card.
Debt’s a drag. It weighs heavily on the mind, makes us feel down-in-the-dumps. Stops us doing the things we’d like to be doing and prevents us from living our lives the way we’d like to.
Serious debt makes things even worse: it can affect our mental health, our relationships with family and friends and see us lose our precious assets, like properties and cars. In some cases it can affect our employment prospects and impact on our credit rating, too.
If you’re in debt, or concerned you’re on the verge of it, then help is at hand! Financial experts from Trust Deed Scotland have gathered together a series of handy ways for you to start saving money—by building a pile of cash that you can reinvest in paying down any debt, large, small or in-between.
Start by getting a proper grip on your finances by knowing exactly what’s going in and exactly what’s going out. Vaguely knowing how much you get paid each month and some general idea of your monthly budget isn’t enough. You need to be on top of this if you’re going to make it work. Get a free online template, or simply grab a pen and paper, and write down exactly what you’ll get and exactly what you'll spend. Doing this means you can spot areas where you might be able to save money, because some of your spending might be ‘frivolous’ rather than ‘essential’. Don’t spend on frivolous items—save the cash in a high-interest account instead.
Does your ‘admin drawer’—the one where you store all your bills (you’ve got one, right?)—resemble a messy sea of complete chaos rather than an organized drawer of heaven with a healthy dose of OCD? If so, you’ve got Bad Bill Management. Not organizing your bills leads to confusion and frustration, meaning you could miss vital payments and slip into debt. Get organized by sorting your bills alphabetically, keeping them up-to-date, and making a note about when each one is due. Consider switching to digital bills, too—bills are much easier to keep on top of when they’re online.
Don’t hide. Some people find debt embarrassing or humiliating. Fact is, most of us will experience it to varying degrees over the course of our lives. As with most things, burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away isn’t likely to lead to a positive resolution. So, if things are getting bad, speak up! Ask for help and support—from family and friends and colleagues. Remember there are lots of charities and debt specialists out there who can help you as well.
Change. Saving money doesn’t have to be hard. Starting small and building it up is a great way to begin. You’ll soon start saving, and you’ll soon be able to start repaying your debt. But don’t let it end there. Be thirsty for new ways to save cash - do this by reviewing your habits once a month. Is there anything you could change? Sign up to financial emails for new tips and stay abreast of what’s going on in the world. Keep learning, and you’ll keep changing.
Information provided by financial experts at Trust Deed Scotland