Sponsored Post – All of the opinions and experiences in this post are my own.
Ten years ago my finances were a real mess. Without a doubt I was struggling, thanks to some poor decisions on my part. I had overspent on credit cards, mainly on holidays I couldn’t afford at the time, and paying it all back was creating massive difficulties for me. I learned my lesson the hard way and now seem to have everything sorted when it comes to finance – largely down to working hard and finding out how to get my finances under control.
Are you finding that bills and charges are driving you into debt?
Here are my thoughts on where to begin when trying to deal with debts and get your finances back under control:
1) Make a start – no excuses.
It is no use putting off till tomorrow what you could be doing today. I know it is depressing to be in the midst of financial trouble – believe me – but the sooner you start dealing with them, the better. My mum always takes notice of Martin Lewis for money saving tips and I have got used to watching his programme and checking his website. I wish I had someone like him to listen to or some online resources to call upon when I found myself drowning in debt.
However, Martin Lewis wasn’t widely known ten years ago, so I had to use my own resourcefulness to begin solving my debt problems. For me, it began with getting all of my statements and adding up the overall amount that I owed. Then I found the credit cards with the highest interest rates and wrote to them explaining my predicament. They helped me build a payment plan and even agreed to freeze my interest for a while as well. Reaching out really helped me a lot.
2) Use your common sense (easier said than done).
Again, it sounds obvious, but doing some research is vital when looking into ways of reducing a debt and improving a credit score. These days there is a wonderful site which lays out the various options you have available. Click here to discover some practical steps that you can take in order to consolidate your debts. This site is easy to use and full of answers to questions you possibly haven’t even thought of yet.
Common sense would also lead you to stop spending on credit cards. For me, this was something I had no control over as I had maxed them all out. It is easy to do. My friends were going on holidays and I wanted to join them, but didn’t have time to save up, so I whacked the vacations on my credit card until it was full. Then, stupidly, I got another one if I received an email offering me a new card. Of course, credit cards are always on the lookout for debtors to add to their lists.
What I am saying is that I needed someone to give me a reality check. We’ve all been there. My advice to anyone stuck in debt is to tell someone immediately and then stop spending and research your options.
3) Cut back on spending straight away
That is easy for me to say, right? For me, it meant saying no to holidays for a couple of years. It also meant going through my outgoings and getting rid of things that weren’t essential. Even today, I sit down once a year and work out what Media apps and services I am paying for (streaming services and online magazines). Often you forget just how many subscriptions you have. At the same time, memberships can sneakily increase in price.
Recently I cancelled a few subscriptions and one of them asked me why I was leaving. It was a newspaper app and I was pleasantly surprised when they offered to reduce their charge to one pound a month for a whole year. As I said before, getting in touch with companies is often a good way to negotiate a deal and form an understanding. This example was a small example of how one action reduced my subscription from £6.99 to £1 just a month. Maybe you could do that with some of your bills too.
If you are struggling with debt right now, please do not face it alone. Reach out to someone you trust and consider the suggestions I made in this post. When I got into debt, I spoke to my mum and she got me started on facing up to the situation and find out just how I could resolve it.
Hopefully you found this article helpful. It is a set of thoughts based on my own experience and I am in no way a professional but I have managed to get my own finances back on track and now have enough savings to deal with any unforeseen emergencies and to finance a few upcoming holidays. For some related thoughts on improving your finances take a look at Boost your income – 5 more ideas for inspiration.