10 Quick Debt-Busting Tips

by : Colin Mc Caig

Are you really frustrated?

Does it sometimes seem like the dollars are slipping through your fingers while the bills just seem to keep mounting up?

It's a familiar feeling for many of us nowadays.

Sometimes, though, like most things in life, taking a step back from it all and starting to get some simple things right can make a huge difference on the big picture.

If your debts have been getting you down recently, here are 10 great ways to start slashing them today:

* First off, consider going on a "cash diet" for the next few months. Lock away some of those credit cards in a safe deposit box... or just cut them up altogether! By all means keep a low interest rate card for emergencies, but definitely rid yourself of any store cards. Why? Because they encourage you to buy junk you don't need at exorbitant rates of interest!

* If you're having difficulties with any of your lenders, approach and deal with them personally. Not only will they appreciate your initiative, but will be far more responsive down the line if you're having further repayment difficulties. The one thing that irritates them most is someone ducking and diving the problem.

* If you think you can afford to pay off any of your loans in one go, approach your lender and offer a reduced final settlement of any thing between 25 and 75%. Try and get the best deal. They can only say no, and might just say yes to get some money in.

When I was deep in debt, I was fortunate to pay off a bank overdraft in this way. In fact, they proposed straight off a settlement of 75%...not me!

* Ask for a promotion at work. Believe it or not, it's estimated that one in two people who actually do this get one.

* Shop around to get the best deals on utilities like gas and electric...

A home energy audit can help save hundreds of dollars a year on heating bills. Ask your supplier who may be able to this for fr~ee or at very low cost.

Many countries now have websites where you can make sure you're getting the best deal. Try doing a web search for "energy savings" plus your country.

A good US site for this is: http://snipurl.com/4vjo

If you're in the UK, try checking out: http://www.uswitch.com

Also, make sure that any new appliances are energy efficient. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

* If you have a spare room, why not consider renting it out for a while. Many governments are now introducing great tax breaks if you do this. For instance, under the UK government's 'Rent a Room' scheme, you can earn up to ?4250 a year without paying tax!

* Check to see you're paying the right amount of tax. You might possibly be due a refund. Every year governments rake in hundreds of millions in unclaimed tax.

You can get fr~ee software programs to help you with this. Try: http://www.taxact.com

* Buy cheaper insurance and investments. Shop around for the best deal on all types of insurance, including life, home, health, travel and pet cover. This could save you thousands over the coming years!

* Consider shopping more online. Online stores often give a discount as they don't have the same overheads involved when selling offline. Search for those goods you want using a search engine or ask the retailers themselves if they have an online store. Here's a great fr~ee resource to get you started: http://www.cmcaig.com/essentials.zip

* Have a direct debit set up so that your debt payments leave your account the day your paycheck is paid in. That way, you'll be less tempted to spend it.

And when you do get out of debt, charge a direct debit to another account and pay in a regular monthly amount (as much as you can afford.) Call this your own personal wealth insurance. You'll never regret it.

By adopting the above strategies, the light at the end of the tunnel will start shining that little bit brighter.

Instead of spending more than you earn, you'll soon be earning more than you spend!

Good luck!

Copyright © 2004 by Colin McCaig mailto:colin@cmcaig.com