*This is a collaborative guest post
As of September 2016 people in the UK owed £1.503 trillion. This is up from £1.451 trillion at the end of September 2015. While owing money may be a normal part of life, it can get out of control and severely impact your life. You might spend years paying off a debt, like student loans. Having a burden like this hanging over your head is stressful. Paying your balance off as quickly as possible is important, but you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your life to do so.
Something that you may want to consider is a Creditfix – Protected Trust Deed, or an IVA if you live in England. This is a legally binding formal arrangement where a debtor grants a trust deed in favour of the trustee which transfers their estate to the trustee for the benefit of creditors. This will also freeze any interest on your debts, stop creditors contacting you and could protect your home and car.
By playing your cards right you can pay back your debt faster and with some small adjustments to your everyday spending, you will be back on the road to financial freedom!
You can also follow our 10 step plan to get your finances back in shape!
Figure out your budget
Whatever the state of your finances may be, working out your budget and letting it guide your expenses is of paramount importance. Working out your budget entails working out the amount of your disposable income, how much you need to save, what your priorities are when it comes to spending, and how much you can afford to pay for your debt. When budgeting, it’s prudent to subtract the amount you need to set aside for your debt payments. Try to fit the rest of your expenses in the remaining difference.
Using a credit card for almost every transaction can make you lose track of how much money you spend. When you pay with cash, it’s easier to keep track of your expenses. There’s a more visual, immediately accessible proof of how much money you have and how much you’ve spent. One way you can easily switch to cash from credit is budgeting your spending money for the week. This should include groceries, entertainment, transport expenses, and other day to day expenses. You’ll then be able to control your cash flow better.
Make a list of all the services you pay for, like cable, internet, and utilities. Also, check your bank’s fees and your loan contracts. Debt management can benefit from finding other services that can offer you lower fees and better deals. If you find a better deal from a different cable, internet, gas, or electricity provider, make the switch. Find out if you can have a 0% balance transfer card if you’re dealing with credit card debt, or transfer your loan balance to a debt consolidation loan that has a better interest rate.
Save energy, save money
Even if you’ve found an energy provider with lower fees, it’s even better if you make the necessary adjustments to make your energy consumption lower. Small things like buying energy-saving light bulbs and appliances or installing a water meter can make a significant difference in your bills. While energy-saving bulbs and appliances may be more expensive, they can save you money in the long run. Using Direct Debit can also enable you to pay your bills on time, thus avoiding late payment fees and black marks on your credit record.
Be smarter about leisure
Having hobbies and sources of entertainment is still important to help keep you sane throughout the process of making your payments. Just make sure that you don’t spend more than you need to, and that you avoid anything frivolous or ultimately useless. Planning ahead for trips or hunting for discounts on concerts and the like can help you ensure that you don’t overspend. You can also look into theatres and other entertainment venues close to your home so you can cut down on transport costs.
Managing your debt can be easier if you ask yourself if you actually do need something you want to buy. If it’s something you can live without for the meantime, or if buying it will mean you’ll only be able to eat ramen noodles for the rest of the week, put it back on the shelf. Also, buy essentials for your home in bulk. Buying in bulk is ultimately cheaper than buying piecemeal, and it will also save you a couple of trips to the store. Also, when there are things you have to buy check for voucher codes on sides like dealsdaddy to make sure you spend as little as possible.
Adjust your grocery-shopping habits
Before making your next trip to the grocery store, try to consume most of the items in your shelves at home so you won’t be wasting any food. If you can, schedule your shopping trips for when the store offers discounts and better deals. However, when you’re considering discounted items, take the time to figure out if you’ll really be saving money on the deal. Hunting for coupons in newspapers and magazines is also a great way to get what you need for less.
Adjust your transport habits
Whether you have your own car or you take public transportation, there are numerous ways to save money. Look into which options will save you the most money. Figure out what kind of fuel can be maximised the most for your car. You can also carpool to work or school or opt for walking or taking a bike to where you need to go. Make sure that you’ll always be able to catch the last train or bus so you won’t have to pay for a cab.
Check your mortgage
Making your mortgage payments is immensely important, and it may also be your biggest expense. It’s best to evaluate your current mortgage and consult a broker or financial adviser about getting a better deal that can let you save more money. When you look into your remortgaging options, make sure that you are being advised by a professional to make sure that you don’t make costly mistakes. Of course, this is the kind of decision that should be made only after you’ve weighed your options.
Stick to your plan
Whatever you decide to do to save more money and budget your money better, make sure that you stick with your decisions. Avoid slipping up even once, because this can weaken your resolve. However, even if you do slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just make sure that any departures from your plan can be mitigated immediately. Adjusting your lifestyle in the interest of making payments may be difficult, but all it takes is a healthy dose of self-discipline.