Even if you’ve only got the tiniest inklings of debt, you want to do whatever it takes to manage that debt with responsibility and tact. This means keeping up with your payments, paying your bills in full whenever you can and making sure your debts don’t spiral out of control. Transversely, when you’ve got too much debt, you have to put a lot more effort and hard work into managing your payments and spreading your resources as evenly as you can without causing too much suffering in other important areas of your life. If you’re looking for tips that will help you better manage your debt, you’ve come to the right place! Keep following along for advice and things to remember when trying to properly manage your debt.
Know Who You Owe and How Much You Owe
Get serious with yourself and write down a list of all your debts including the creditor, the total amount you owe, monthly payments and the due dates. Your credit report can serve as a useful tool when going through this process because it will confirm what you already know and if there are any discrepancies, you can get them squared away as soon as possible. Keep this list as a record and when you pay bills you can check in on your progresses.
As the month’s progress and your debt amounts begin to drop, you should update your list as necessary to reflect those changes. When you manage your debt with a system in place, it feels less like a hassle or annoyance.
Pay your bills on time each month as long as you can help it. Late payments will make it harder to drop your debt amounts when you constantly have late fees getting tacked right back on to your balance. You want to manage your debt most efficiently so that you don’t incur fees that end up turning into higher interest rates and charges if you miss consecutive payments.
Use calendars in multiple places–like on your desk and in your smartphone–to make sure that you have constant, visible reminders when bills come due. If you miss a payment, you want to be sure to get it in as soon as possible: don’t make it a habit to wait until the next bill comes through! If you know you’re going to be late a few days on a payment, contact your lender and detail the situation. You might be able to set a payment arrangement or get an extra day or so without being charged a late fee.
Utilizing a bill payment calendar can help you decide which bills you want to pay with certain paychecks. Write down each bill’s payment amount next to whatever day it’s due. Then write in the days of each paycheck you receive. If you get paid the same days each month, you can use the same calendar from month to month. If you don’t, making a new calendar each month will be helpful to manage your debt.
Make the Best Payments You Can Make
If you can’t afford to make anything more than the minimum payment, at least do that. In truth, settling the minimum payment on your bills doesn’t help you make any real progress, but it does keep your debt from growing further. Missing payments altogether will make it more difficult to catch up and your accounts could go into default and that’s the last thing you need.
- To manage your debt with your best foot forward, the credit cards you owe on should be first priority. Whichever credit card you have that holds the highest interest rate should be repaid first because it will cost you the most. Use that debt list you compiled to rank your debts from top priority to least important as a good plan of attack. Choosing to pay off debts with low balances might also be a great place to start so you can simply get them out of the way.
- When you’re limited on funds to manage your debt, your focus should fall on keeping positive accounts in good standing. The ones that have already been sent to collections won’t do much to help your credit unless you pay them in full. Instead, pay attention to those past due accounts and handle them when you have the money to. Collections efforts will continue as long as you have outstanding balances.
- A monthly budget will be most helpful when detailing just how much you can spend and where it can be spent. You always want to be sure you have the funds to afford your monthly expenses, and a budget can help you be sure of that. If you can plan far enough in advance, you’ll be able to tackle those instances when money is coming up short and if you ever have some extra, you can put that towards bills to pay down your debts faster.