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Many people out there who want to pay off debts they have accumulated still do a very good job of being ostriches and hiding from it. (I’ve talked before about how understanding the ‘why’ behind this phenomenon is what drove me to become a money coach).
Debt is stressful. If you have debt balances, they play a big part in your life and can cause significant mental anguish. But hiding from it doesn’t help you and doesn’t help your creditors to get their payments, either. When you hide from your debt, you can potentially ruin your credit rating even further. You also lower your chances of being able to borrow further for something like a mortgage later on.
It may take some time to fully be rid of your debt, but everyone who pays off their debt gets that feeling of abject relief.
Do you need support to pay off your debts?
Not everyone pays off their debt in the same way. Ask yourself whether you can save money, and how much debt can an IVA write off? Once you understand the answers to these questions, you can take the right steps toward avoiding hiding from your responsibilities, and start to do better for yourself. Getting rid of your debt is brave and with the ten steps below, you can make it happen.
- Contact your creditors first. Stop blocking the calls from the debt collection companies and don’t throw away the letters. Yes, it’s scary to get all of those letters hitting the doormat, but that doesn’t mean that you should keep hiding from them. It’s time to get real, open all the letters and calculate how much money you owe and to whom. Sort the list by prioritising your most pressing debts at the very top of the list. These include things that will affect your house like your missed mortgage payments and council tax, and then move onto the payments with the highest interest rates. Speaking to your creditors is not going to be easy for you: pride does come into it – but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid them.
- Avoid more debts while you are paying off your old ones. It’s nice to borrow to go on a break, and it’s even nicer to borrow some cash to enjoy a great birthday or Christmas. The thing is, by borrowing more to do something nice, you’re only going to cause more debt issues over time. This is not something that you need, and it’s going to prevent you from making progress in the future. The idea here is to only spend what you need to spend on what you need to buy. By borrowing money to pay for the things you need, you’re only going to hinder your progress and reducing your temptation to spend more money on credit will help.
- Stop looking at your disposable income as yours. You are more than entitled to have your money to do as you please, but you should look at your disposable income and see what you could be doing with it. Keeping on top of minimum repayments is essential, but paying even more will help you to rid yourself of them faster. It’s vital that you look for short term sacrifices for long-term gain of being debt-free faster.
- Build an emergency fund. Sure, there is a big argument to say that if you are in a position to save money, you should put it towards your debts, but when you are in a position of paying debt, you are also in a more vulnerable position. Having emergency savings will mean that you don’t have to worry about trying to borrow money if your appliances break or if your car needed repairing.
- It’s time to be open about your financial situation with your friends and family. When your people know that you are struggling, you are more likely to have the support that you need from others. There’s no need to have barriers with the people who love you and there’s no need to feel embarrassed when you don’t have the money to afford the same things that they can.
- Give your debts everything that you’ve got. Make deals with creditors – even if it’s a nominal payment and stick to it. When you don’t pay your debts, your creditors don’t see you as reliable, so you need to stick to any agreements that you make. The result of missing those payments often means even heftier fines, and this leads to no one agreeing to more payment plans. Instead, you risk being taken to court and/or receiving a call from a bailiff which is not pleasant.
- During your conversations about repayments, ask your creditors for lower interest rates. They may say no but you don’t know if you don’t ask. There are two reasons for asking for lower interest rates. The first is that you can afford better repayments for your debts. The second is that you are showing commitment to your debts and a commitment to getting your debts paid off quickly. If your creditors see you taking control like that, they will know that you are feeling more confident about paying them off, and they’re more likely to agree to help you do it. Seek out promotions and let your creditors tell you that they’re willing to work with you to pay them off.
- One of the best ways to get out of debt is to get a second job and start ploughing additional earnings into your debts.
- A debt consolidation loan could be an option. You should speak to a financial advisor and get some more information on what it means to get a consolidation loan and how it could help you in the future. One payment will mean that you don’t have to worry about constant letters every month, and you will also be able to slowly rebuild your credit rating so that you can borrow again in the future when you are in a more stable situation to do so. But are you just replacing lots of problems with one bigger one? It’s essential to get support before considering this option.
- Have you ever considered debt counselling? It’s an option that you may not have thought through before. If you have the courage enough to stand up and own your debt, then it’s time to make sure that you avoid ever going back into that debt situation that you had in the first place. With the right debt counselling, you can deal with people who can help you to talk to debt collection agencies and who can coach you about what to say to others. A debt counsellor can also teach you techniques to prevent you from falling back into the debt hole. Stepchange is a great charity offering support to those who need it.
Debt doesn’t have to be a hole you bury yourself in. Learn to stop hiding from it and face what you have to do – pay off your debt and get the weight off your shoulders.