It’s time to talk about that 4-letter word that lots of people have, but no one wants to talk about: Debt. According to U.S. News.com, Americans have an estimated $2.3 trillion in debt – and that’s not counting mortgages! If you’re one of the millions of Americans trying to dig yourself out, we’ve organized 3 steps to help you get started toward your financial freedom:
Determine how much you owe. Surprisingly, many people don’t actually have a clear idea of how much debt they have. Sit down (and include your spouse) and make a list of all debts, including the payment amounts, interest rates, and terms. While this may be something you’ve been avoiding because the debt can seem insurmountable, taking a look at the real numbers can be empowering since this is the first step to getting out of that financial hole.
Analyze your spending. That $5 latte every morning costs you more than $150 a month. Think about how much you’d save by making coffee at home for about $.13 per cup (Don’t believe us? Check out this article!). That’s a savings of $1753.20 per year! If you put that savings towards a credit card balance each month, you’re that much closer to being debt free.
Consider consolidating debt. For some, it makes sense to consolidate all of their debts like credit cards or department store cards into one loan with one fixed monthly payment. This is usually at a lower interest rate, and could save thousands you over the life of the loan. Plus, with a set term (such as 5, 7, 10 years), you finally have an end in sight, whereas credit cards will go on indefinitely if you’re only making the minimum payment. Visit FCU’s online calculators and click on “Should I Consolidate my loans” to determine if this is a good option for you.
Making coffee at home is just one way to start saving some cash each month. What ways have you altered your spending habits to start chipping away at debt? Tell us in the comments below!