How to be frugal by Cass Bailey
How to be frugal

Brilliant Ways to Manage Your Debt

Saving money in this day and age is quite difficult.

Everything is really expensive – so it has become really hard to built or ha to buy a house because salaries remained small.

If one wants to take his family on holiday as well he really needs to save or use the help of a credit card.

I really don’t like using money I don’t really have because this is what credit card money or loans are in the end anyway.

But what can you do?

Always live in a small rented place or never take your family and kids on holiday?

I am sure many families do that but I made myself a promise when I was a teenager and my parents were building their house.

I promised myself that I will try as much as possible to enjoy life and travel, that I will give my children happy moments despite everything.

My parents saved every penny possible and invested it all in the house but denied themselves a lot as well.

Clothes and food were bought only out of necessity – I had one pair of jeans to go to school with… I know for my kids this would sound out of this world.

Holidays were inexistent though unless we made a trip to the beach during the weekend. In this sense we were lucky enough to live quite close.

Right now I find myself in almost the same situation as my parents. We have plans to renovate the garage and make our girls their own bedrooms but at the same time I know that they will not be living with us forever.

So I plan to go at least once a year on holiday despite getting ourselves in this project.

But how are we going to manage it?

I mean we both work from home but like I said at the beginning of this post it’s quite hard to manage saving, building a house and afford everything our heart wishes.

So what can we do?

We had to use a credit card when we moved here because we didn’t have a lot of money and we had to have a finished and furnished place for myself and the girls to live in.

Unfortunately we still have quite a bit to pay back and we will probably spend even more now because we want to do all the above.

We are certainly aware of that but we will not live a bad life just because we are trying to do all the above.

There are things we can do to manage our debt on short and long term and we are doing it quite successfully so this is why I decided to also share our ideas with you.

Brilliant Ways to Manage Off Debt

  • Find out how much you actually owe and where

I know this is not really a way to pay your debt but knowing exactly how much you owe is the most important part.

So make a list of your debts, including the creditor, total amount of the debt, monthly payment, and due date. You can use your credit report to confirm the debts on your list. Having all the debts in front of you will allow you to see the bigger picture and stay aware of your complete debt picture.

Don’t just create your list and forget about it. You can consult the Creditfix website and see if you can actually write off some of your debt.

Also make sure you refer to your debt list periodically, especially as you pay bills. Update your list every month as the amount of your debt changes.

  • Always pay bills on time

When we lived in London my husband was taking care of all the bill payments but since we moved back home things like this shifted from him to me. So from the beginning I wanted to make sure I never spend more money than I can afford and be left out with no money to pay the bills like the gas, water or electricity. From the beginning I decided to not ever pay a bill past it’s due date.

Late payments make it a lot harder to pay off your debt as you will have to pay a late fee for evert payment you miss. Plus if you miss payments from any kind of bills – utilities or credit card payments your interest rate charges will increase.

  • Decide which debt you will pay first

I believe that owing money to credit cards is probably the worse out of all the debts that you could have. They are so easy to use that you will be inclined to use them with every given opportunity. Plus they have the high interest and PPI should definitely keep you away from them.

I rather make a loan than a credit card but in case you have a one and a big debt to pay than paying off the credit card debit is probably the best thing you could do especially because of their high interest rate.

If you have more than one credit cards than you should always choose the one with the higher interest rate.

Use your debt list to prioritise and rank your debts in the order you want to pay them off.

  • Make at least the minimum payment

When it comes to paying of credit cards is best to keep on top of them as much as you can. So even if you can’t afford to pay more than the minimum payment pay at least that.

Of course, the minimum payment will not help greatly in the big scheme of things and it will not help you make real progress in paying off your debt.

But, it keeps your debt from growing and keeps your account in good standing. When you miss payments, it gets harder to catch up and eventually your accounts could go into default.

  • Make money out of a hobby

Do you have a hobby that you really enjoy? I really enjoy crocheting and blogging and although I am not sharing any of my crochet creations I am making a tiny bit of money by having this blog.

Perhaps you have a talent for music or art or you like crocheting as well or making little crafts.

Or if you are handy with a camera you could shoot weddings on the weekends or if you are a music passionate person you could pick up djing gigs.

Why not make some money doing some of those things?

Hobbies can be a great way to boost your income by quite a lot of money! What do you do with that money? Well, you pay off your debt faster, of course.

  • Use your emergency fund

You know all those coins you put in jars or you give your kid to put in their piggy boxes?

Well, have a look at it and count it! Last time we did that we ended up with around 50£ worth. I know it’s not a big amount but it can still go toward paying or just use the coins when paying for the daily shopping rather use your credit or debit card to do so.

Some of you might also have an emergency fund as well stashed in the bank so if that is the case you should certainly use it to pay at least some of your debt.

Now, I’m fully aware that this is not a method for everyone. There is a certain level of comfort with having a decent sized emergency fund.

And that’s what it’s all about.

  • Look into getting a balance transfer card

I had no idea what a balance transfer credit card was until my husband told me that we could use one in order to use their 0% APR introductory period.

You can find cards that have 0% interest for 6 to 24 months so they would be great help in managing your debt.

However, it very much depends on how much you owe as some cards have limit on the debt you can transfer on them.

Be very careful for which cards you apply though as each time you apply for a credit card, your credit score takes a little dip. So don’t want to apply for lots of cards at the same time as you are unlikely to be approved for all of them.

If you’re approved for one of these cards, you can than transfer the balance from a high-interest card to the new card. The new card generally handles this for you.

DO NOT USE THIS CARD TO MAKE NEW PURCHASES.

If you are really serious and want to pay your debt don’t use this card or any other card for new purchases as the debt will get bigger and bigger rather than reduce. If you do that you will actually pay off your debt every month rather than the credit card interest as during the 0% APR period all your payment will go into paying off the principal because you aren’t accruing interest.

Be warned you will need to pay off the entire balance before the introductory period finishes as any remaining balance will be subject of new interest which could be higher than the rate of your old card.

If you still have debt on the old card as well too you might be better in concentrating your money into paying that faster as that grows faster.

  • Save rather than spend

We’ve all been there – keen on saving and pay off our debt and then go out shopping and splash money on an impulse.

But you can go around that and I will tell you how.

First off, make sure you have a saving account!

Then, rather than spend 10£ on another toy your child will forget as soon as you both get home why not transfer the same amount toward your saving account.

I know your child will probably be disappointed but you could instead make toys, craft with them at home as that will definitely be a lot cheaper.

Plus you can learn how to control your impulse spending and you will save money!

What are they ways you manage your debt?

Do share with us in the comments so that we can all learn from each other.

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