Creatively Tackling Your DebtPosted on by steve.jones
I was reading a news article recently on the creative ways that individuals tackle their debt problems. Being a professional that helps people with their debt problems every day, this article added to my admiration of the human spirit and the creative ideas it lends people as they try to pay down their debt.
When facing debt problems, of course, the first step is to stop adding more debt. This can be hard to do, but one has to find a way to put away credit cards and refuse to use any other credit, such as a line of credit or overdraft. Creating a reasonable budget (click here for tools to create and monitor a family budget) and then sticking to that budget is also critical and this is where seeking credit and debt counselling can be beneficial in solving financial troubles.
When these basic steps are not enough, the recent news article showed how creative some people can be at finding a solution to their debt challenges. The article started off with the popular suggestion of getting a second job to help supplement the family income. Indeed, in helping people solve debt problems every day, this is a routine suggestion made by many debt professionals. The problems, however, is that a second job is not always do-able, due to child care obligations, a limitation of available part time jobs, or many other factors. Showing the creative capacity of many people, the news story discussed how one person, when faced with a lack of part-time jobs available, started to knock on doors and offered his services to his neighbours to do odd jobs and household work that his neighbours could not or were not able to do themselves.
Another individual described in the article started collecting loose change and returnable bottles and soda cans as she was jogging and she found that this gave her extra money each month. She also stopped using her car and started to ride her scooter which reduced her gas costs and other related travelling costs (insurance, maintenance, etc.).
One family in the article even started to make their own soap and detergent and found that this was costing them much less than buying the same thing at the grocery store. They combined this with eliminating all their wants, such as a gym memberships, cable and internet. They also reorganized and cleaned out their house by identifying all the items that they found were not necessary and then sold these items on eBay to generate additional money to pay down their debt.
As any debt help professional would remind a person, however, these creative ways to save money and pay down debt still have to to go hand in hand with plans to reduce spending and use the saved money to pay off debt. The article illustrated the impact of such budgeting by outlining a recently married couple who found they could save $300 to $500 per month by reducing discretionary expenses, such as entertainment items like dinners out and shows, etc.. This “found” money helped them pay down their debt and also allowed them to start an emergency or savings fund.
The bottom line is that if you want to eliminate your debt, you must be motivated and you must create a plan to tackle your debt. Like any other activity, seeking professional help can ensure you cover all bases, from budget plans to the creative ideas shown in this news story.