Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Digging out of a huge debt was not the toughest thing I have ever done, but it was the toughest financial decision I ever had to make. I was ready to retire and owed THOUSANDS of dollars. What could I do? I looked at my old American Express end of year statements and realized that my spending was way out of control. You would not believe the money my friends and I spent at 'good' restaurants. I paid fees to join business networking groups then never attended the meetings. When it hit me that I would not be able to retire when I wanted to, I had to stop spending and just say no. This was hard, but I did it. I am finally debt free and I retired to devote my time to my home business. Becoming debt-free is difficult but not impossible.
If you have a family, the first thing to do is to have a family meeting. It is not fair to start cutting back drastically without telling your family why. Your debt is a family issue, they asked, you bought. The suggestions offered below are simple and most likely familiar, but ignored.
Start lowering your debt by spending less immediately.
Know all of your credit card limits. Have your card limits written in a notebook. Many of us have the limits in our heads and feel good when we “take a chance” and the over-the-limit is accepted. Be careful, your credit card company may charge a fee if you go over your limit.
Pay your bills on time. Late fees can be as low as $10 and as high as $35. Paying late can cause a penalty rate and your rate can go from 10.5 percent to 25 or more percent in one month
Verify all of the charges on your bill. Don’t assume that the bill is correct and just pay it willy-nilly. If you are unsure of a charge or cannot remember the purchase, check it out. Be sure to save your credit card receipts and match them to your charges when the bill arrives.
Ask questions. If there is something on the bill that you don’t understand, call the 800 number and ask questions. Have paper and pen handy so you can note the following information: the day and time you placed the call, the name of the person who talked to, if you are switched, record the name and the time. Write the outcome of the telephone call and keep in a file.
Read those notices that come with your bills.Remember that it is your duty to read the fine print on your bill. Read the fine print every time a new bill arrives, fees, rules, regulations and your payment cycle may change. If you do not read these notices, you may miss new or changed information. If you do miss it, you are still liable.
Just say no to cash advances. Last but certainly not least, do not succumb to taking a cash advance. Cash advances have high interest rates.
Yes, digging out of debt is difficult but it is not impossible. Once you are out of debt, take care to remain debt-free by changing your life-style. You can live well while spending less. See recommended book.