Strategies to Get out of Credit Card Debt

Debt is probably ruining your life. You are not alone. Take heart, there are relief options. Americans carry more than $850 billion in credit card debt and this debt impacts the lives of well-meaning people. Debt is a national problem and also an individual one. You try to pay off your credit card debt in full each month, but you rarely succeed. The rising costs of living including unexpected life events and undisciplined spending are some causes of credit card debt. Now that you know the problems, research how credit card debt relief works.

 

  • Determine the amount of credit card debt you owe. Find a credit card debt relief service that specializes in helping you evaluate your debt to income ratio. This will help get you back on solid financial footing.

 

  • Establish a plan and start with a budget. You need to have a commitment to helping yourself. Track your money both incoming and outgoing. Study the problem and find the most troublesome area for you. Change your mindset about money and live below your means instead of beyond what you have.

 

  • Sell assets to pay down your credit card debt. You can earn money on eBay, your local paper classifieds, and yard sales. You may have a closet full of things that you don’t need anymore. Selling them could bring you some extra money to pay off debts.

 

  • Pay more than the monthly minimum on your credit cards, even if it is only $5.00. Paying more consistently will help you reduce your debt quickly. Pay more toward higher-interest cards first.

 

  • Shop around for credit card debt reduction services. Look for one with a favorable fee schedule and ask for a breakdown of all the fees involved. Check out the company with the BBB; this is a good way to avoid scams.

 

Your credit card debt relief plan should include debt negotiation, debt settlement, repayment plans, and debt consolidation.

 

  • Debt negotiation often results in a new payment plan or paying less than the total amount owed. Credit card companies don’t offer this type of payment plan, but you can seek third party help in negotiating.

 

  • Debt settlement is also debt negotiation. The debtor and creditor settle on a reduced amount that will be considered as payment in full.

 

  • Debt consolidation brings all your credit card bills together in one monthly payment. The debt consolidation takes a fee and passes the rest of the money on to creditors. Watch out for an unscrupulous company in this type of plan. The fees can make this type of program prohibitive.

 

  • Bankruptcy is a way to get yourself out from under crushing card debt. If you cannot make any payment on debts, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order that dissolves or restructures your debt. You will have a bankruptcy mark on your credit for up to 10 years that could substantially cause problems when trying to get credit.

 

Research the plan that is best for you and stick to it. Make a budget and move on with your life.

IRS Tax Debt Relief Options

Millions of people are suffering from the overwhelming burden and stress of tax debt. Thanks to recent changes in the tax laws the IRS has made it easier to obtain Tax Debt Relief. The new changes for IRS Debt Relief are called the Fresh Start Initiative. Not all citizens qualify for Tax Relief via the Fresh Start Initiative, and the new laws can be very confusing. Though seeking tax debt forgiveness through the Fresh Start Initiative can be helpful, if a person applies incorrectly they can be permanently banned from receiving the benefits of the Fresh Start Initiative, making it imperative that a person hires a qualified tax attorney to assist them in receiving the Tax Debt Relief they wants as regards individual solutions.

 

Overburdened with IRS tax debtWhether you need to file tax returns for multiple years, arrange some type of a payment resolution, or need to stop pending collection action, there are various IRS debt relief options available to you. Tax professionals can work with you to implement a plan of action that involves preparing all necessary tax returns and negotiating a settlement on the outstanding tax debt. At the same time, we can put a stop to ongoing collection activity and secure a hold on any future action. Speak with one of tax professionals and learn how to take advantage of available IRS debt relief programs.

 

3 Key Options For People Seeking Tax Relief

 

Each option available for Tax Debt Relief has particular criteria to be considered for the Fresh Start Initiative. Once a person applies for IRS Debt Relief the IRS has all the information they need to collect on the debt if they do not approve one of the three Fresh Start Initiative options, so it is crucial to ensure your original application is perfectly submitted.

 

Penalty Relief:

 

The IRS has a laundry list of categories, sub categories and qualifications to be eligible for debt relief through penalty relief. Some of the basic requirements is that the tax payer needs to show cause of having the tax debt, that they have experienced a loss of income 25% or higher, a loss of job, illness in the family, earn under $200,000 along with many other lesser known conditions. With the numerous options in receiving tax relief, each tax payer must be prepared to submit the best possible package to qualify for tax debt settlement.

 

Flexible installment agreement:

 

Another option the IRS has afforded a tax payer for Tax Debt Relief is the Installment Agreement. The installment agreement is for tax payers who cannot afford to pay off their debt in one lump sum. If your Installment Agreement can be accepted, the tax debtor will have a reduction in penalties allowing them to Relieve your debt issues as well as other irs tax problems

 

Offer in Compromise:

 

A person can apply for an Offer in Compromise through the Fresh Start Initiative.An “Offer in Compromise” is essentially an agreement made between the IRS and a taxpayer that allows the taxpayer to pay less than the full amount they actually owe. With this type of agreement, the taxpayer can usually choose to make a lump sum tax payment or set up an installment plan. While it might not be for everyone, the Offer in Compromise program has enabled many taxpayers to settle IRS tax debts.

 

Under the Fresh Start Initiative the IRS has expanded to a larger group of people who could qualify for Tax Debt Relief through an Offer in Comprise. To quote the IRS in regards to people seeking Tax Debt Relief: ”The IRS recognizes many taxpayers are still struggling to pay their bills so the agency has been working on more common-sense changes to the OIC program to more closely reflect real-world situations”. Generally offers will not be accepted if the IRS believes you can pay for the debt, thus making it crucial you hire an experienced and qualified tax debt attorney to prepare your Offer in Compromise allowing you to obtain the Tax Debt Relief you deserve.

 

Ways To Releive Your IRS Tax Debt

 

Installment agreement

A monthly payment plan for paying off the IRS. If you think you are a victim of a fraudulent investment scheme , where you have lost all or most of your investment, you may be eligible to take advantage the United States Tax Code (law) to recoup 30% to 40% of your losses. This highly technical and complex process can help you reduce taxes paid in previous years resulting in refund with interest.

 

Release IRS Wage Garnishment

When you owe Uncle Sam money, the IRS can levy your wages, salary, or federal payments until the levy is released, your tax debt has been fully paid off, or the time expires for legally collecting the tax. There’s room here to bargain for a release or modification to the garnishment if you don’t have enough money to survive with the levy.

 

Debt Relief Options For Veterans

Debt can be overwhelming, especially during the repayment process, so much so it's often very easy to forget other monthly or annual payments. Getting out of debt can be incredibly hard, even seemingly impossible at times. Though the road to recovery may be long, it is possible to get back on your feet after financial difficulty.

 

Some heavily indebted individuals have spent imprudently while others are victims of circumstances beyond their control like unemployment, medical emergencies or unforeseen changes in a family situation. Study reveals that members of the military accrue debt at alarming rates when compared to civilians. This debt can endanger service members’ financial lives (and their jobs) if left untouched.

Here are five reasons members of the military tend to fall into debt.

 

1) Pay is steady but small

 

“Service members may find themselves in debt for a number of reasons,” said Gerri Detweiler, Director of Consumer Education at Credit.com. “For many, the pay may be steady, but it’s not large, and that means they have to stretch their paychecks quite a bit – especially if they are helping to support a family.”

When military members are forced to squeeze every last dollar out of their paychecks, they might not be able to save enough money for emergencies at home. So if there is a family emergency, they might have to go into debt, which can easily become a downward spiral if it’s not carefully monitored.

 

2) Frequent moves prove to be expensive

 

Another reason for debt in the military is needing to move locations often. Frequent moves can add additional expenses and those moves can make it harder for a spouse to hold and advance in a good paying job. As a result, they have to pay mortgages on both their old and new homes in order to maintain good credit, which places an added burden on their financial lives. Debt can start to pile up despite their efforts.

 

3) Spouse forgets to make a payment during deployment

 

Deployment makes it difficult to stay out of debt as well. If a service member leaves a spouse at home, he or she will automatically receive all the financial responsibilities while the service member is deployed. If communication fails for some reason, the spouse at home might forget to pay a seemingly innocuous bill. But that missed payment can create larger problems if not taken care of. Because most of the financial pressure is put on the spouse at home, missed payments can lead to more debt.

 

4) More susceptible to the credit industry

 

Because of their steady, guaranteed paychecks, military members can get credit more easily and are more likely to be targeted by creditors than civilians. “Additionally, those (military) that do carry credit card debt have higher balances than their civilian counterparts,” said Karen Carlson, Director of Education at InCharge Debt Solutions. “Carrying debt, however, limits a service member’s ability to maximize other military benefits, like the Thrift savings program.”

 

5) Fear of jeopardizing security clearance

 

The underlying reason service members stay in debt once they accrue it is fear of losing their security clearance if their superiors find out about their debt. “Unfortunately, members of the military may be afraid to seek out help,” said Detweiler. “I’ve heard from service members who are deeply underwater on their homes, for example, but are afraid to get help for fear of jeopardizing their security clearance.”

 

So if they don’t acknowledge their debt and seek help for fear of losing their clearance and job, the debt will only continue to increase.

 

But nonprofit companies such as VeteransPlus and Military Debt Management Agency work to make it possible for military members to put their debt behind them. “A successful military career can lead to a lifetime of financial security if you exercise some of the discipline gained from basic training in your personal finances,” said Carlson. “We encourage service members to get out of debt and stay out of debt, with the help of nonprofit credit counseling.

 

The two ways to debt relief for Veterans can either be through self guides or professional help.

 

Self Guide – This entails creating and Sticking to budget

 

Financial Planning Software

 

Commercial software, such as Quicken Intuit, can be a very useful tool in budget planning. Sticking to a budget has never been easier, at least in theory. Budget software can track your income and expenses and does so while placing a premium on ease of use and easy to understand breakdowns of where your money is going.

 

There are also free spreadsheets you can find on the internet that can help you track your money. While they lack the sophistication of commercial software programs, they can be a useful starting point for those who are just beginning to track their spending.

 

The Old Fashioned Way

 

While computer software can be enormously useful to enable sticking to a budget, it's not absolutely necessary, and in fact many people prefer to do a budget with pencil and paper so that they can see the entire picture right in front of them. If you're one of these people, you'll need to do more work in keeping your records organized, but if you do so, you'll be fine once you get going.

 

This sounds easy, but getting over the mental hurdle of starting a budget and the initial energy it takes to track your money is the hardest part. Once you accept that there are absolutely no disadvantages to creating a budget and doing so will make your financial life easier to manage, maintaining your records becomes second nature.

 

Total Your Income

 

Take stock of every source of income that you have. If you have a regular paycheck, tally up your monthly take home pay. If you are self employed, be sure to include any income you generate as well as any outside sources of income.

 

Gather Your Records

 

After you've taken stock of your income, you'll have to spend a significant amount of time and energy into tracking your expenses. You should begin by tracking regular expenses such as mortgage payments, student loans, utilities, car payments, insurance, child support, and any other obligation that you pay each month. These are considered fixed payments, and most likely will not change much over the long term.

 

Making A Budget

 

After you've tallied up your total income and total expenses (this process will take you at least one month), you will immediately see whether your expenses overtake your income and you can begin to make decisions on where to trim the fat.

 

Sticking to a Budget

 

Making your budget is time consuming and you may feel as though you're done, but you still have to remain faithful to your budget or your effort will be for nothing. Think of your budget like a diet. You want to stay on it, but if you splurge on one day or in one area it's alright, you'll just have to make up for it in another area.

 

Professional debt relief solutions include:

 

Debt Settlement – Also known as debt negotiation or debt resolution, debt settlement involves you or a debt settlement company negotiating lump-sum settlements with your creditors. The object is to decrease the principal you own while also eventually retiring the debt.

 

Debt Consolidation – Debt consolidation means taking out a loan, which you use to consolidate and pay off all your other debts. The object of debt consolidation is to reduce interest rates and combine all of your debts into one manageable, monthly payment.Finding a Dependable Company. It takes time researching a dependable and experienced debt consolidation company. Look for companies with more than five years of experience.

 

Debt Management Plan – Unsecured debts such as credit card bills, medical bills, student loans, department store cards and unsecured lines of credit can be handled through a debt management program (DMP). The object is to reduce your monthly payments by getting a reprieve from interest rates, late fees or penalties from your creditors while promising to pay back the full principal over time.

 

Credit Counseling – Another system of debt management is credit counseling. You work with a credit counseling agency that reviews your budget and helps you evaluate all of your debt relief alternatives.

 

Many credit counseling services are nonprofit organizations and may provide counseling sessions at no cost. However, some organizations are for-profit companies and do impose fees.

 

Bankruptcy – These services come with a price because they are complicated and involve plenty of paperwork and terminology most of us are unfamiliar with in our daily lives. Many debtors turn to financial professionals for help with debt — from calling lenders for lower rates, refinancing a home or simply creating a strict budget and sticking to it.

 

Exploring Debt Relief Options

There are millions of households around the United States that are struggling with mounting debt and unpaid bills. While the economy has recovered significantly since the recession of 2008, for many people in the country, money is still very tight, they find themselves saddled with debt that they cannot pay and there seems to be no relief in prospect.

But this is no reason to get disheartened as there are several debt relief options out there, waiting to be explored. Each of the debt relief options discussed by us has its own advantages and disadvantages. You should select the one that is most suitable for your current circumstances.

Create a Budget and Pay Down the Debt

Monthly Budget WorksheetCollect your financial documents and credit card reports, and find out where you stand. Write down all the balances, interest rates, and monthly amounts due for all debts – credit card debts, auto loans, personal loans, payday loans etc. Make a note of the annual fees on your credit cards. Ignore mortgage loans or student loans for the moment as they have low APRs.

Now take a hard look at your monthly expenses and prepare an income vs. expense statement. Your expenses should include the payments made for rent, mortgage, insurance, utilities, groceries, student loans, and everything you can think of. Subtract your expenses from monthly income and find out how much you’re left with to pay off urgent debts.

Look at cutting unnecessary expenses such as eating out, cable subscription, having coffee everyday at Starbucks and so on. The more money you save, the easier it becomes to pay off existing debt. This takes patience and a plenty of personal sacrifice, but it’d be well worth it when you finally become debt free.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy protection is a unique way to settle your debts, but should only be used as a last resort.  During a bankruptcy Chapter 13 settlement, you pay off your debts through a detailed repayment plan, which protects your assets from getting liquidated. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy ordered by the courts protects several of your assets even as your debts get written off. Bankruptcy is the best long term protection against creditors and debt collectors.

However, bankruptcy adversely affects your credit standing for at least 10 years. Bankruptcy is recommended only if you have a very limited income and huge unsecured debts. So explore other debt relief options first before considering bankruptcy.

Credit Consolidation

Debt consolidation or credit consolidation is one of the most effective debt relief options where lenders transfer all their loans into a single loan. A big low interest loan is then issued by major banks to pay off this consolidated debt. This debt relief option is recommended for those who find themselves owing money to several lenders.

Refinancing the Home Loan

This is one of the most popular debt relief options that involves taking a new loan on your home and using the money to pay off all existing debts. Refinancing the home loans allows you to lower your monthly repayments, make only one repayment, rather than several, lower your interest rate, pay off your debts much faster and it allows you to be in control of your debts, especially credit card debt, rather than get controlled by them.

Debt Relief Agencies and Nonprofits

Most people are not financially savvy and when hit by the burden of debt, they will need help from experts. Debt relief agencies help people manage their finances better, and pay off their debts in a much easier manner.

They help relieve some of the stress involved in repayment of debts by offering professional advice that gets to the core of the issue, helping people understand where they’re going wrong, what needs to be changed, while exploring several debt relief options that might make things easier.

Debt relief experts will have access to knowledge that most people may not have, which helps greatly while deciding on the methods to be used for debt repayment. While most debt relief agencies charge a small payment for their services, there are non-profits that offer these services as well, that don’t charge you any money for their advice.

Conclusion

We hope the advice given here has been useful to you, and given you the information that you were looking for on your debt relief options. Remember, be calm, never be scared by the prospect of debt repayment, there are several excellent options available to you. And never be too shy to ask for professional guidance on the management of your debts.

 

Debt Relief Laws in the United States

If you’re struggling with a mounting debt burden, it is important to be aware of the important Federal Consumer Debt Relief Laws in the United States that are relevant to your situation. Here, we discuss four of the most important debt relief laws in the country pertaining to Mortgage Debt Relief, Credit Card Debt Relief, Student Loan Debt Relief and IRS Tax Debt Relief.

Mortgage Debt Relief Laws:

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation

According to the Mortgage Debt Relief Act introduced in 2007, any debt reduced through mortgage restructuring or any mortgage debt that is written off because of a foreclosure qualifies for tax relief. This means any mortgage debt that has been written off doesn’t have to be reported as income and qualifies for a tax exemption.

The tax exemption limit has been fixed at $2 million. However, the mortgage should be on your principal home and not on a rental or commercial property. This Act was introduced to mitigate the effects of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis that set off such a punishing economic recession in the country.

Credit Card Debt Relief Laws:

Federal Credit Card Debt Relief Act

The U.S. credit card debt per household is estimated to be $15,611 if only indebted households or those households that owe credit card debt are taken into account. Being under credit card debt can be a very stressful experience for most people. Far too often debt relief agencies take advantage of distressed borrowers by charging fees without offering respite of any sort. The government is well aware of this and introduced the Federal Credit Card Debt Relief Act.

While the government cannot offer you financial assistance to help repay your debt, the credit card debt relief laws introduced by the government ensure that debt relief agencies abide by certain important rules.

The debt relief companies are not allowed to collect any fees till they have re-negotiated, settled or reduced the debt amount. At least one of the original terms of payment for the debt should have been changed in favor of the consumer.

There should be a written agreement that clarifies the settlement plan agreed to by both the consumer and the creditor. The consumer can pay only after at one of the payments have been forwarded to the creditor by the debt relief company.

A complete disclosure has to be made by credit card companies during their marketing and they are not allowed to mislead the consumer or misrepresent their services. The final settlement payments will be deposited into a ‘dedicated account’ which is in the name of the consumer. The consumer is allowed to withdraw money from this account anytime.

IRS Tax Debt Relief Laws

The IRS Tax Debt Relief Laws offer relief to those suffering from unusual financial hardships, because of which it might be difficult for them to pay the imposed taxes on time.

One of the solutions offered is to file for a “Not Collectible” status, which would notify the IRS that you’re unable to pay any bills. This stops all collection from the IRS for 10 years and protects you from losing your property or assets in lieu of the unpaid taxes. But you will still receive statements from the IRS that tell you how much you owe.

Another solution offered is to make small monthly payments to the IRS to pay the unpaid tax balance. You can make the payments by check, credit card or bank transfer. However, there will be bth fees and interest levied on the unpaid balance which only grows with time.

Another option is to qualify for an OIC (or offer in compromise). This allows you to pay less to the IRS than the full sum that is owed. It is a lot easier now to apply for an OIC than before and you don’t need a tax preparer’s help to do so. However, very few people can qualify for an OIC.

Student Loan Debt Relief Laws:

The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

Known informally as the “Obama student loan forgiveness” plan, this relatively new law aims to make college education affordable to one and all. The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act relieves a lot of the debt burden on college graduates struggling to repay their student loans.

The law comes in two parts, Income-Based Repayment Plan and Student Loan Forgiveness. According to the Income-based repayment plan, graduates pay no more than 10% of their discretionary income, after having covered basic living expenses such as food and housing. Earlier, the maximum repayment was 15%.

And then, there is the Student Loan Forgiveness part, according to which responsible borrowers who have made regular payments for 20 years can have the rest of the loan forgiven – earlier, this was 25 years. For public service workers – teachers, police officers, military personnel, nurses – loan forgiveness is assured after just 10 years of regular payments.

 

 

Student Loan Debt Relief Options

There is little argument that going to college is expensive. To make it from beginning to end, it can take thousands of dollars every semester intuition costs alone. While there are various forms of financial aid, scholarships and often help from the parents, college has become so expensive that students have little choice but to use student loans to help with the costs.

 

Student loans are fairly easy to get and can help a person pay for Burdened With Student Loan Debttheir college education. However, this also leaves the student deep in debt when they graduate. In 2014, it was estimated that students graduating college were already overloaded with an average of $33,000 in debt. This number is startling, especially due to the current job market and the struggles that college students have gone through in order to find employment upon graduation.

 

These loans can be detrimental to the future of the students. Not only will they find themselves struggling to pay back the loans, but it may also affect their goals of obtaining their own house or car as well. Plus, these loans can take a decade or more to pay off, making it difficult for the student to begin their life. For this reason, many students search for a way to gain some relief from these student loans so that they can move on with their lives happily. Below are some tips to do just that.

 

Switch to a Different Payment Plan

With a traditional federal student loan, payment plans are set up to last 10 years. By choosing this repayment plan, you will have the benefit of saving money in the long run because of the lower interest that you will be paying over the life of the loan. However, this could also mean that your payment is higher than what you can afford.

 

If you find that you are struggling to make your loan payments, you may want to think about switching to a different payment plan. For example, it is usually set up that you will begin paying a small amount when you first graduate from college. Then as the years progress, you will continue to pay more every year.

 

However, extended repayment is also available, which can last up to 25 years. There are also income based options, such as Pay as you Earn that cap the amount you pay at 10% to 15% of the amount of your monthly income. Plus after 20 to 25 years, the remaining amount may be forgiven.

 

Keep in mind that there are also some professions, considered ‘helping professions’, like teachers and doctors that are actually able to have their student loans forgiven after 10 years. Your lender may also have some programs that you qualify for as well that you should check into.

 

Try Consolidating

If you find that you do not qualify for any of the options listed above or that your lender doesn’t provide income based repayment option, you may want to consider consolidating through the Department of Education. Even though this will not typically lower your payment, you will find that this option will make your loans easier to keep track of.

 

Also, by consolidating through studentloans.gov, you will then qualify for any of the options listed above as well. This is also something that your lender may offer you consolidation options as well, but often they do not. Many people then turn to consolidation companies, which turn out to be fairly expensive for a service that you can do on your own through the Department of Education.

 

Consolidate private loans after working on your credit

If you chose private student loans rather than federal options, you will need an entirely different strategy in order to find relief from them. While there are a handful of lenders who will allow you to consolidate your private student loans, they also take a look at your credit in order to qualify you.

 

Since students typically don’t have the best credit scores, it may be difficult to qualify. Also, it is suggested to avoid consolidating immediately after graduation and to wait a few years instead. This will give you time to build up your credit, which you can do in a number of ways.

 

First, it is important to obtain a copy of your credit report so that you can learn what your lender will be looking at. Start working on paying off the loans that are on your credit report. More than likely you probably will only have your student loans on your report, so just make sure that you maintain a regular monthly payment and do not fall behind because this can damage your credit.

 

Start by building your credit with a gas card. This is a credit card that you will use to only purchase gas and will pay off every month. You can also save up a bit of money in a savings account, around $2000, and apply for a loan using it as security. These are both simple ways to build up your credit and are items that most people will be able to qualify for easily.

 

After a few years, you can then visit with your lender to learn more about your consolidation options. While it can take some time to get to this point, you will find that your hard work pays off and that you are able to finally get some relief from your student loans.

 

Conclusion

Student loans are very helpful when a student is looking to pay for their college education. However, when it comes time to repay them, students may find that they have a difficult time to do so.

 

If you are in this situation, make sure that you rely on the tips listed above so that you can keep your credit intact and continue to build up your finances for the future. The most important thing that you can do is to maintain payments on your student loans so that you are not haunted by the credit implications in the future.

Steps To A Debt Free Life

We live in an instant gratification world nowadays. This tends to lead some people into the dreaded world of debt.

Money Problems and Instant GratificationIn 2014, the average household credit card debt in the United States exceeded $15,000, and thanks to rising secondary education costs, student loan debt has now become a serious issue in America as well.

What about you? Are you drowning in debt and looking for a way out?

You can become totally debt free by following this proven step by step system. It requires both effort and sacrifice, but if you have the determination and desire to become debt free, this is how to do it.

  • Excluding your house, list all of your debts on a sheet of paper.

  • Next to each debt show the current balance, the monthly payment amount, and the annual percentage rate (APR).

  • Now you will need to sort through the list and determine which debt to pay off first.

  • The smallest balance should be your first priority.

  • The only time you will worry about the interest rate is if there are two debts with similar payoff amounts. In that case you will want to pay off the one with the higher APR first.

  • Now it is time to focus on paying off that first debt.

  • Put any spare change you accumulate into a jar at the end of each day.

  • Cut back on non-essential things whenever you can. The more you're willing to sacrifice, the faster this process will move along.

  • Apply every extra penny that you can to paying off that first debt.

  • When it's time to make the next scheduled payment for that first debt, take all of the money from the Freedom Jar and ADD it to the regular payment amount and send it in.

  • Continue this process until that first debt is paid in full.

  • Once that first debt is eliminated, go back to your list and determine which debt is next to be conquered.

  • Now that you've paid off that first debt, take the money that you used to pay on it and add it to your Freedom Jar each month.

  • Continue this process until your debts are eliminated, one by one.

The purpose of this debt reduction plan is to get you excited and keep you motivated to paying off your debt in a short amount of time. Paying off debt is not only about the math, it's about motivation. When you see your debts disappearing you will feel more in control of your finances and realize your dream of living a debt free life is possible.

Think Debt Relief – Find Debt Relief

Getting out of debt requires your full attention. It takes will power, determination, and above all else, persistance. You have to create a budget and then stick to it. You have to prioritize your debts and eliminate unnecessary expenses wherever possible. Sacrifice will be necessary if you are truley determined to live a debt free life.

Daily Cup of CoffeeMaking sacrifices does not come easy to most people. We work hard to earn a living and we want to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We reward ourselves with various items, such as a daily cup of coffee at Starbucks, a dinner out every Friday night, or perhaps going to the club on Saturday night. We buy ourselves items that we want but don't necessarily need. We buy on impulse without a second thought about how much it will really cost us in the end. If you are ever going to find debt relief, you first must stop going deeper into debt.

Sometimes we just can't avoid incurring new debt …

  • The car breaks down
  • The furnace stops working
  • The roof needs replaced
  • Your child is entering college

However, the majority of the time the new debt is completely avoidable ..

  • You want that big screen TV
  • You want that vacation in Hawaii
  • You want that sleek new car
  • You want that expensive piece of jewelry

It's not just the big ticket items that get us in trouble. All those seemingly insignificat purchases begin to add up fairly quickly. A new pair of shoes, a music CD or video, lunch with the gang at the local Bistro, even that tank of gas that you charged instead of paying cash for begins to increase your debt and reduce your actual buying power.

It's those seemingly insignificant purchases that you need to eliminate if you ever want to get ahead. You would be shocked to see how much money you actually throw away on those types of purchases. Don't believe me? Start keeping a  weekly record of every dollar that you spend. List every purchase that you make, no matter how small. Put all of the receipts into a box and see for yourself just how much "extra money" you really have at your disposal for more important matters, such as getting out of debt.

If you are serious about getting out of debt, you must be vigilant and think debt relief all the time. Before you pull that VISA card out of your wallet, ask yourself, "Do I really NEED this item"? "Will buying this product save me money in the long run or is this just something I WANT, not something that I NEED"?

The same is true for cash purchases too. Before you buy that next pack of cigarettes or that next pair of shoes, ask yourself if you need it or just want it. Once you get into the habit of spending less and saving more, you will be on the right path to freedom from debt.

Living Within Your Budget

When it comes to living within our means, most of us fail miserably. It's far too easy to pull out the credit card and purchase something frivolous completely on impulse. It's that "instant gratification" mentality that gets a lot of people into a lot of credit card debt.

It makes no sense to try to get out of debt if you haven't yet taken control of your spending. That's why it is so essential to create a budget and stick to it. You must understand that unless you spend less than you make, you will wind up in debt.

With careful planning you can create a budget that you can live with. You must be realistic about which of your debts are essential and which are not. Paying your rent, electric bill, and heating bill are certainly in the essential column, but cable TV, blazing fast internet, and that Starbucks coffee are not.

Your budget needs to be written down and kept within easy access. It is important that you accurately track your income and expenses and modify the budget as necessary. Some of your expenses vary with the seasons and with the temperature outside, others are fixed and never change. For many people, the same can be true of their income. They may work more hours in the Summer but less in the Winter.

We have a couple budget worksheets available for you to download. Use them each month to track your expenses and earnings so that you always know where your money in going. Once you learn to live within your means, you can prevent yourself from getting deeper into debt and begin to eliminate it.


MonthlyBudget Planner     Blank Monthly Budget Planner

Monthly Budget Planner                      Blank Budget Planner

Got Debt? Ways To Provide Debt Relief In Your Life

With consumer debt at an all time high it is safe to say that most people are looking for a way to ease this financial stress in their life. When a debt becomes too big for someone to handle just through budgeting alone they can seek out other options. Instead of bankruptcy a person can choose to go the route of debt relief. Debt relief is defined as a partial or total forgiveness of one’s debt.

Debt relief dates all the way back to biblical times but it’s never been more important than now. With credit card late fees climbing higher and mortgage interest rates on the rise people’s total debt continually increases. Many consumers find themselves burdened with heavy debt and very little hope in the way of relieving this debt on their own.

There are two popular debt relief strategies that you can implement before your debt gets too out of hand. They are the snowball method and avalanche method. With the snowball method you pay all minimum payments to all debt and then any additional funds go towards the debt with the lowest balance. This gives you immediate gratification once that debt is paid off and motivates you to keep going. The next approach is the avalanche method. This one is where you make additional payments to the debt that has the highest interest rate.

Visa and MastercardCredit card debt relief is a viable option for anyone facing mounting credit card debt. There are a few routes you can take with credit card debt relief. One option is to negotiate with the company to lower your interest rate. This way your debt doesn’t accumulate as quickly and your monthly payment isn’t going to be as high. Now with this option it will help to have a good repayment history and credit score. Another option is to do a balance transfer. If you try to negotiate a lower interest rate and the company won’t budge you can take that balance and transfer it to another card. With this option you would need a good credit score as well.

Some big banks like Wells Fargo offer solutions for people that hold a credit card through them. They realize that people sometimes do suffer from financial hardship and they want to work with you. So the sooner you contact them the better it will be and they can start you on one of the three options they provide.

The three options they offer are short-term and long-term payment options and then also debt counseling referrals. The short-term payment option offers a lower interest rate and possibly a lower minimum payment. The long-term payment option is for customers that require a long term concession. It has a reduced interest rate and a manageable monthly minimum payment. The last option is debt counseling, this is for customers that have multiple debts not just with their bank. They refer you to a qualified not for profit agency.

The last option in credit card debt relief is a debt consolidation loan. A debt consolidation loan is somewhat like a balance transfer for the fact that it allows you to move your high interest credit cards to a lower interest account. However, it is a loan and you may be able to get a better interest rate then you could on any credit card. These loans can be secured or unsecured and you would need good credit for this to be an option. Do keep in mind that obtaining a home equity loan should never be something that you consider. They are secured and you take the risk of being foreclosed on if you get behind in your payments.

If the negotiations don’t or won’t work in your case you can always choose to hire a debt relief agency. But please keep in mind not all debt relief agencies are created equal. You want to make sure they offer appropriate solutions, don’t cost you an arm and a leg, and that they are dependable. Debt relief companies can be a dime a dozen and some are here today and gone tomorrow.

A debt relief agency is defined as anyone who provides bankruptcy assistance to a person for compensation. This description came about because of the Bankruptcy Act of 2005. But not all debt relief agencies handle bankruptcy. There is no test you need to take to become a representative for one of these agencies. That is why it is imperative that you choose well during your search. Some have legal backgrounds and are well versed on the laws whereas some aren’t. So if bankruptcy is the route you are heading it is best to find an actual attorney that specializes in bankruptcy.

There are three types of debt relief options that debt relief agencies, not specializing in bankruptcy, offer. They are debt settlement, debt consolidation loans, and debt management programs. The first two options, debt settlement and debt consolidation loans, can hold significant risk. Steering clear of agencies that offer this is a good rule of thumb. They typically charge hefty fees for these options based on negotiations and administrative duties. Not all creditors will want to participate and these options will more than likely still cause significant damage to your credit rating.

When it comes to choosing a debt relief agency it is best to go with one that offers a debt management program. They tend to be the more reputable agencies. Debt management programs are set up for you make one consolidated payment to the agency each month and in turn they will pay your creditors. But keep in mind that this route definitely requires that you choose wisely. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Looking for a non for profit one is a safer way to go.