Westchester County

Tips to Reduce Your Debt

Tips to Reduce Your Debt

You can get out of debt by changing a few habits. Here are ten ways you can reduce your debt:

1.  Develop a budget to track your expenses
A budget can help you monitor how much you’re earning and spending, and what you’re spending money on. Being more aware of your income and expenses can help you to eliminate or reduce unnecessary costs.

2.  Don't take on more debt
Work toward paying down what you currently owe before adding any new debt. Avoid any unnecessary purchases. Adding more debt by making unnecessary purchases when you still have debt to repay will make managing your debt more difficult.

3.  Pay your bills in full and on time
Paying your bills in full and on time will allow you to avoid high interest rates and late fees. If you're unable to make full payments, aim to pay more than the minimum due to avoid paying more in interest and fees.

4.  Check your bills carefully
When you receive your bills and statements, make sure they are accurate and your rates remain the same. If there are errors or your rates increased without any explanation, call your lender to fix accordingly.

5.  Pay off your high-interest debts first
If you have multiple bills to pay, paying off the debts with the highest interest rates and fees first will reduce the amount of money you owe in the long run.

6.  Reduce the number of credit cards you have
Consider having only a few credit cards to manage your debt. Make sure they have the lowest rate available.

7.  Look for the best interest rates when consolidating your debts
By obtaining a debt consolidation loan from a bank or credit union, you are able to manage your debts more easily since you make only one payment to the bank or credit union rather than several payments to all of your current lenders. Often, the bank or credit union may offer you a lower interest rate than the rates on the loans you owe, so shop around for the best rate before consolidating.

8.  Contact your creditors about repayment plans
Speak directly to the companies to which you owe money. They may be willing to set up a repayment schedule that is more realistic for your budget and reduce monthly payments.

9.  Speak to credit counselors
If you need help in developing a debt repayment plan, consider speaking with a credit counselor.  Be careful of counselors that claim they can pay off all of your debt quickly with one low fee, because it could be a scam.

10.  Stay vigilant
Once you've reduced or paid off your balances, remember to guard against incurring debt again.  Consider phasing out credit cards and using debit cards or cash instead.