This is a paid post written by me on behalf of Discover Personal Loans. All opinions are my own.
The accumulation of debt is something that all of us try to minimize in our financial lives. While most of us may be pretty smart about managing our money, many of us have debt and are paying it off at a higher interest rate every month than we need to be, instead of saving.
In fact, household credit card debt today is over $750 billion in total. There are many reasons for accumulating debt. The most common use revolving debt; credit cards and medical expenses, which can frequently be due to an unexpected situation. To be financially successful, first try to avoid taking on more debt than you can handle. Second if you already have debt, create a plan to pay it off. For example, if you’re someone who has debt from spending outside your budget, find ways to pay off your debt and to reduce and eliminate your excess spending. Become more familiar with the “why” you acquire more debt and possibly fall behind in your monthly bill payments and then you’ll be able to find a solution to pay it off. Ultimately, taking these steps could lead to finding the best ways for you to avoid unwanted debt, and only having debt that helps you reach your goals, like a mortgage you can afford or loan that helps you consolidate debt and pay it down faster.
Why Might You Have Too Much Debt?
One reason for your oversized debt is that you may be spending more than you are paying off, and with this routine, your debt can increase or perhaps decrease but much more slowly than you’d like. For example, if you aren’t able to pay off your bills’ full balances at the end of each month, you are likely accumulating interest. The interest can be quite large if you are covering major purchases such as a kitchen renovation, car repairs or other big ticket items such as a wedding or a trip abroad.
Other reasons for debt are things that may be outside of your control, things like uncovered major medical expenses, losing your job, or paying for a divorce. For instance, you may not have the funds to pay unexpected, costly medical bills that aren’t fully covered by health insurance, like an emergency hospitalization or for a child that suddenly needs braces, putting you in deeper debt than you’d like.
There are times when debt is unavoidable. Understanding all aspects of your financial situation you can better take the necessary actions to systematically reduce it. The process of identifying, organizing, simplifying, and consolidating your debt can get you on the path to reach your financial goals.
How to Pay Off Your Debts
One way to pay down your debts more efficiently is by consolidation with a personal loan. A personal loan can allow you to combine multiple debts into one place and can save you money on interest. Additionally, some personal loan lenders, like Discover Personal Loans, provide the option to pay off debts directly and give you the option to speak with customer support directly.
A personal loan can be used for a large variety of expenses such as once in a lifetime things like a dream vacation, a wedding or even to pay unexpected bills or finance some other major expense. A personal loan may allow you to pay for such expenses at a fixed lower rate than other financial tools, as well as a fixed repayment term.
Personal loan amounts can range from $2,500-$35,000 and upwards.
It’s beneficial to look for lenders that guarantee no surprise fees that you wouldn’t normally account for. Discover Personal Loans, for example, offers no application fees, closing costs—no fees at all as long as you pay on time. You can easily start the application process online or by phone with the help of a personal loans representative. I also like Discover because they offer 100% US based customer service.
How Do You Apply and Qualify for a Personal Loan?
If you are 18 and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for a personal loan. The first thing you should do is check your credit score, which you can for free online through websites like CreditScorecard.com. Having good credit helps determine if you can save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in interest.
Determine what amount of money you may need to borrow and how much you can afford to pay back each month. Try out this debt consolidation calculator to see what such a loan can do for you. Next, get proof of your employment such as your weekly pay stubs and W2 forms. Then, start the application process online or by phone.
Strategies to Avoid Unwanted Debt and Save Money
Here are some simple rules that you should follow to help avoid falling into more debt than you can handle.
- Know what you owe and pay all your bills on time
- Make a budget and stick to it – Know how much money comes in each month and how much you can afford to spend by spending category. Prioritize your needs. You can’t spend money you don’t have.
- Use your credit cards wisely – Sometimes you must use a card when you are temporarily short of cash. Try to use credit only when you know you can pay the bill quickly or at the end of the month.
- Build up an emergency fund – Pay your savings fund first and save up at least three months’ worth of expenses for emergencies.
- Focus on paying off your debt – Do not increase your debt by adding to it with unnecessary luxury items. Try a personal loan to consolidate debt in a way that potentially saves you money on interest and could help you pay down the debt more quickly.
- Purchase health insurance – Protect yourself from any medical emergencies or conditions.
- Keep track of your credit history – Monitor it regularly and make sure it’s up to date and correct to ensure you are in good financial standing.
To learn more about Discover Personal Loans, visit https://www.discover.com/personal-loans/
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Very nice piece of advice, indeed we must spend with in our means and try never to default on our mortgage and other payments, personal loan is a great option if we run into financial difficulties and find it tough to pay.
Gary, great tips here. Thanks for sharing. I definitely agree with you on checking your credit history. You need to know where you stand and make sure there are no ID theft issues as well.
A lot of people wonder what to do when they are “under water” on their cars but really can’t afford the monthly payments anymore. Selling the car and taking out a personal loan for the difference is the way out of that mess. While I don’t encourage taking on debt, restructuring existing debt can sometimes be a smart financial decision.
Facing your debt head on is a smart decision. Sometimes consolidating multiple debts can save you money and even moreso, can give you a better sense of control. It’s easier to deal with one creditor instead of numerous creditors. I like your advice on how to deal with a car you can no longer afford.
Debt consolidation is one of those things that sound great in theory but often don’t work in practice. Logically, it makes sense: pay down your debt at a lower interest rate. The thing is that people in trouble with debt did not get there via logic. And what very often happens is that once the debt is consolidated, the credit cards are liberated -available to use again. I know someone who has gone through the cycle 3 times – consolidate, max out, consolidate, max out, consolidate, max out. The root causes of debt have to be addressed – and consolidation on its own doesn’t address them.
While consolidating your debt can’t prevent future abuses, facing your debt and looking for ways to manage it is a good first step. Debt consolidation is just that. I know that there are people who will revert back, as you have said, however, there are many other examples of people who have overcome their battle with credit card abuses and not all debt is caused simply by abusing your credit cards. Some people have taken on debt that they just could not avoid due to misfortunes. I understand your point and appreciate your comments.
Good point. It is true that some people have taken on debt because of misfortunes. I was focused on the more out-of-control-spending type of debt – for which I think consolidation is less likely to be successful. (I’m glad you don’t mind discussing different views.)
Great ideas to keep your debt under control. Sometimes it just takes one disaster then you have a problem. I love the idea of putting your savings first and building an emergency fund.
Thanks, Vickie. It’s so easy to just not think about your debt until it builds into a mountain, so it’s good to remind yourself and to make those adjustments to save before you even think about spending any more money. Thanks for your comments.
Checking credit history is a must Gary, that’s a good piece of advice along with not taking on more debt while trying to get out of it. If things are really getting out of hand debt consolidation is a good option.
Thanks for your input. I’m sure many can benefit from this idea and I appreciate that your opinion confirms it.