No one likes to find themselves in debt, but these things can happen through no fault of our own due to redundancy, illness and even spiraling school fees. Even though the thought of being thousands of dollars in debt can be a scary, overwhelming thought, there are certain steps you can take from sorting out who you owe and how much, to setting up a payment plan end even speaking to creditors to see if you can come to an arrangement.
Confront The True Amount
If you’ve been ignoring those brown, or red envelopes for a while now’s the time to bite the bullet, take a deep breath and go through your statements to see exactly how bad the debt is. This isn’t going to be easy as you may have been ignoring the real amount and playing it down as ‘just a few outstanding bills.’ Go through each statement carefully making a note of each outstanding amount and being honest with yourself about how you arrived here in the first place.
Speak To Your Creditors
If you’ve been sent correspondence regarding debt collectors or removal of store credit or utilities services contact the relevant customer service or finance department and explain the situation. They may be able to put you on an easy pay payment plan, a pay as you go meter or a store card with a lower limit. Customer Credit Agents are trained to deal with delicate and difficult situations and will aim to put you at ease while explaining what you need to do. Don’t be embarrassed about the debt but if you do need to talk to someone speak to a trusted friend or even ring a debt helpline for advice.
Increase Your Income
Is there any way you can bring more money in? Could you work extra hours for a few weeks? Get a part time job? Or ask anyone if there are any odd jobs you can do? You could also be honest with family and friends and ask for a small, repayable loan, that you would use to reduce the amount but be careful if you do this as not everyone will be sympathetic. Another option is to take out a secured loan or loans for homeowners, against your property and use it as collateral to pay your existing debt. Be aware though that this loan will require monthly payments and you could lose the property if you default.
Make A Record Of Income And Expenses
Check how much is coming in, and out of your account, each month as this can have an impact on your debt. You may be able to cut back on an expense you don’t need to free up the cash to pay a creditor. If you’ve been waiting for overtime pay to clear, or have lent money to others in the past without them paying you back now is the time to collect all your outstanding monies to help clear the debt. If you’ve recently been made redundant, or have been ill for some time check what severance pay you’ll get and what medical bills have been paid out by your insurance.