If you live in Pennsylvania and are concerned about the amount of debt that you have accrued, you’re not alone. In the Keystone State, the average resident holds approximately $4,600 of consumer debt. Although that is less than the national average, which is around $5,200, it is still far from insignificant. Whether you owe less, more or around that amount, your debt could very well be holding you back from things like better interest rates, better loan terms and access to affordable credit. Pennsylvania debt consolidation can help; read on below for additional tips that will help you to pay down debt quickly.
Six Effective Ways to Pay Down Debt Quickly
Although it’s normal to feel overwhelmed when facing large amounts of debt, the fact is that nothing will change until you take that initial step. Much of the time, that first step is simply acknowledging that there is a problem and deciding to take steps to combat it. Of course, if paying down debt was easy, there would be no need for debt consolidation agencies and credit counseling services. To succeed, you’ll need persistence and patience. The following six tips are sure to help too:
1. Cut Your Spending
You can’t hope to make your debt smaller if you keep adding to it, so the first step should be to cut your spending wherever you can. Like many people, however, you may not be sure about where your money is even going every month. To figure this out, you’ll need to establish a budget. You can take your pick from tons of easy-to-use online budgeting tools, including Mint.com, to get to the bottom of your spending more easily. Once you’ve identified where your money is going, you can identify frivolous expenses like expensive coffee drinks, pricey lunches, online game and app purchases to whittle away at your spending.
2. Stop Using Credit Cards
In addition to cutting spending wherever you can, you will want to stop charging things onto your existing credit cards. Do this even for cards that you are diligent about paying off every month. Simply take a break from using your plastic for as long as possible. By not adding more debt to the pile, you will be able to chip away at the principle balance more quickly. If you have extra money to put toward credit card balances, focus your efforts on cards that have the highest interest rates.
3. Pick Up a Side Gig
If it’s been a while since you received a raise, it never hurts to ask about getting one. If higher pay is not a possibility, consider picking up some side gigs to bring in some extra income. Thanks to the internet, people with skills of all kinds can find paying side gigs. For example, if you have a car, you could start picking up jobs for ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. Many folks bring in extra money by picking up people’s groceries or by performing random tasks through apps like Fiverr. By thinking outside the box a little, you’re sure to come up with ways to bring in extra money that can be used to pay down debt quickly.
4. Put Refunds and Other Windfalls Toward Your Debt
If you come into a nice chunk of cash—whether from a work bonus, a tax refund or some other source—put as much of the money as you can toward your existing debt. As tempting as it might be to spend the money on something fun or frivolous, the reality is that it will be put to the best possible use when it’s put toward the debt that you’re trying to eliminate.
5. Pay as Much as You Can Per Month
When trying to eliminate debt, you’ll want to do more than make the minimum payment on your credit card balances. In fact, you should put as much of your spare cash toward paying off that debt as possible. Focus on credit cards and loans with especially high interest rates first. Remember to set aside some cash to use as an emergency fund too—try to start with around $1,000 or two weeks’ worth of pay, whichever is higher, and then try to build it up to at least three months’ worth. Use anything extra to pay down your debt.
6. Use Debt Consolidation
Like most people with large amounts of consumer debt, yours is likely spread across several credit cards and other loan products. Juggling all those debts can feel a lot like robbing Peter to pay Paul—one balance might go down a bit, but then others plateau or even increase. A better way to get a handle on this type of debt is through Pennsylvania debt consolidation. This process involves working alongside a debt counselor who will walk you through the appropriate steps to reach your goals. By taking out a new loan—typically with a lower interest rate—and moving all the other balances over to it. That way, you have just one monthly payment and usually face lower interest charges and other fees.
Get Started Today
Although it may seem impossible now, financial freedom is within your reach. The best way to lay the groundwork for a debt-free future is by signing up for qualified debt consolidation services. Contact Christian Debt Counselors to speak with one of our financial counselor for more information about debt consolidation in PA today. Before you know it, you will be on your way to debt-free living.