It isn’t just the holidays; it’s easier to fall into debt today compared to previous generations. More than 70 percent of Americans have at least one credit card, and most of us have a balance of at least $3,000.
Don’t let yourself get sucked into the cyclone. Keep an eye on your finances and stay out of debt with these tips:
1. Manage Existing Balances
The most crucial part of debt management is taking care of any existing lines of credit. Being debt-free is a process, not an endpoint. You’ll have to take consistent measures to ensure that your balances stay as low as possible.
Using a budgeting app is an easy way to make sure you don’t miss payment dates and interest deadlines. Many apps allow you to sync your bank account information, so the program is able to access your data in real-time. This takes time and tediousness away from your banking experience.
Thankfully, it’s almost 2020 and balancing your digital checkbook is more painless than ever. Use a banking app, budgeting program, and a reliable calendar to stay on top of all credit accounts.
If you are carrying high-interest balances, consider obtaining and an additional source of credit to get a better rate.
Getting an auto title loan is one easy way to borrow a large amount of money all at once. If you secure a favorable interest rate, you can use the cash to pay off your credit cards or existing loans. This way, you’ll ultimately pay less over time.
2. Generate Additional Income
Working too much has obvious drawbacks, but adding a few hours to your workweek can do wonders for your economic situation.
If you have the ability to desire to accrue overtime at your current place of employment, it’s worth discussing your options with your supervisor. If you’re working on a project or plan on taking on more work in the near future, you might be able to pad your paycheck with overtime.
You can also look for a flexible part-time job, such as driving for a rideshare service or walking dogs.
For those who need to work remotely, there are a ton of options all over the internet. And, this isn’t just an option for writers and data coders. Voice acting, medical transcription, and even calligraphy are just a few examples of jobs you can do from home.
3. Reduce Spending
While simple, this is probably the most effective plan for staying out of debt.
Living below one’s means is the straight-shot solution that most economists can agree on. But, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or preparing for a large expense, that isn’t so cut and dry.
If you feel like your budget is being pushed to the max, take an honest look at all of your expenses and sources of income over the course of a month. Take note of any spending that could be avoided in the future, such as take-out food, entertainment costs, and alcohol.
If you go to the same bar every Friday for drinks and happy hour with your friends, consider hosting your own on a rotating basis – and take turns bringing the booze. Or, rather than filling up on pricey frozen dinners and prepared foods, you can cook a full week’s worth of cheap meals with just a crockpot and a few basic ingredients.
Even changing the brand of trash bags you use or choosing a washcloth over paper towels can make a significant dent in your budget. The idea is to reduce and all unnecessary costs. At the end of the day, most of us would be surprised to learn exactly what we can live without to reach a bigger goal.
You never know what will happen to your financial situation, so it’s never a bad idea to prepare for the future. Building a path toward economic freedom starts with the basics. Using these tips will help you to build your bank account in no time.