As a military intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, I learned discipline at an early age. It takes a lot of discipline to manage money, so I’ve been able to apply this trait to my personal financial life. This means I closely watch what I spend, set aside a percentage for savings and charity, and live within my budget.
To understand the reasons you are in debt, take the following steps:
- Establish a priority spending plan to identify and prioritize your expenses. Determine items you really need, such as food and gasoline, versus items that you would like to have, such as new clothes or dining at restaurants. Saving $100 each month by saving on clothes or eating at home will enable you to find the money needed to pay down your debt.
- Evaluate your current spending habits by asking yourself some key questions: do you keep an organized list of things you need? Do you shop only when you realize you’re out of something, or do you purchase items on impulse? If you like to shop, try to build funds into your monthly budget—you’ll enjoy shopping more, and you’ll buy clothes or households items you really need.
- Plan ahead to ensure each dollar has a specific purpose. If you develop a monthly spending plan, and you want to purchase new clothes, but your spending plan only allows you to spend $58 each month on clothes, you will begin comparing prices, getting the best deals, and saving money.
Once you’ve set your priority spending plan, you’re ready to tackle your credit card debt.
- There are several methods for paying unsecured debts. Depending on the method you choose, prioritize your debts in order of balance, interest rate, or both, and list details for each creditor.
- One method is to pay off one account at a time, starting at the top of the list. Once each account is paid off, add those extra dollars to the next account while continuing to make at least minimum payments on all other accounts.
- To learn more about various methods for paying down your debts, visit www.CredAbility.org/education and take our free online course called “Change Your Financial Fate.” Take a look at Equifax’s Debt Wise Program to learn additional strategies for paying off debt.
- Always track your daily spending to stay on target for achieving your financial goals, whether you have credit card debt or even after your debt has been paid off. To download our free pocket tracker, visit www.CredAbility.org.
READ MORE at the Equifax Personal Finance Blog:
Deciding How Much To Borrow In Student Loans
Credit Trends: Managing Student Loan Debt: Student Loans on the Rise
How to Build Credit in Order to Buy a Home
Mechel Glass is the former vice president of education for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. She is a U.S. Army veteran, entrepreneur, author, and educator.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.