Simply checking for these warning signs means you’ve taken the first step. If one or more apply to you, keep moving along this path to turn your situation around.
take full inventory: First, make a list of every debt you have, along with the interest rate and minimum payment. Then, list your income and expenses for each month to assess your financial obligations.
- CUT EXPENSES RUTHLESSLY: Find where you can trim expenses. Any extra money you can put toward debt payments will get you debt-free that much faster.
- DO THE MATH: Going all in, can you successfully pay off this debt? If it’s more than 50 percent of your income, bankruptcy may be a more reasonable path to re-establish at least modest financial health. Schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney or a nonprofit credit counselor for assistance.
- PICK A PLAN: If a do-it-yourself approach is within reach, choose a repayment method you’ll actually use. Two popular ones:
- Debt avalanche: Focus all extra payments on the debt with the highest interest rate until it’s paid, then move on to the next highest. This can save you money by wiping out your costliest debt first.
- Debt snowball: Start with your smallest balance and work up to the largest. The early victories can keep you motivated.