Escape the Jungles of Debt Part II – Be Aware of Your Surroundings!
February 4, 2020 by Chevron Federal Credit Union
Welcome back, courageous adventurer!
You’ve found yourself lost in the Jungles of Debt and are trying to work your way back to the Financial Wellness Road. The first step to escaping is to Build a Map. If you haven’t taken care of this, we highly recommend backtracking a little and reading the post before moving on.
Now you have your map and are ready to make your way through the jungle. We’d all be able to get out of debt without a problem if it was as simple as a straight line. But alas, there are traps and pitfalls along the way that can suck us down or lead us off our path and get us lost all over again.
Step 4: Stop digging deeper
This one may seem obvious, but it must be said: stop using credit to buy things that are unaffordable!
We need to change our spending habits if we want to escape this jungle. If we don’t, adding miles to our journey back is the best thing that can happen. At worst, we end up so lost in debt that we never get out.
While trying to be debt free, consider using a debit card or cash in the meantime.
Step 5: Try lowering interest rates
Along our journey, sometimes we can feel like we’re in financial quick sand, better known as interest rates. No matter how you struggle to get out, they keep pulling you down. If you find yourself neck deep, here are a few ways to go pay less interest:
- Consolidate debt with a personal loan
Apply for a personal loan with a lower fixed interest rate and pay off existing debts with it.
- Transfer balance to a lower APR credit card
Some credit cards have low introductory rates on balance transfers. Some websites even provide lists of cards with 0% introductory rates.
- Ask creditors for a lower APR
Yep, just give your creditors a call. Ask for help. The worst they can do is say “no.”
Step 6: Stay focused
This step is one of the easiest to do and yet hardest to follow. We all get distracted, especially for goals that are not tangible. We work through the jungles of debt, but veer off course because we get distracted by a pretty (and expensive) flower.
Don’t lose sight of the goal: debt free. This could be a long process, so having small goals along the way can make reaching the end that much easier. Set monthly, weekly, even daily goals to check off along the way.
For example: your overall goal is to be debt free by the end of the year.
- Monthly Goal: eliminate 10% of debt each month
- Weekly Goal: deposit fraction of paycheck into account dedicated to paying off debt
- Daily Goal: meal prep to save on lunch and dinner expenses
Now that you have a map and know how to keep an eye out for the pitfalls and traps, check out How to Escape the Jungles of Debt Part III – Get Back on the Financial Wellness Road for the final steps to being debt free once more.