Dealing with Debt
Debt can sneak up on you, but if you keep an eye on your finances you'll be able to see it coming and hopefully act to prevent it becoming too serious. Below are some warning signs that may indicate you are falling into trouble:
- You don't have any savings
- You only pay the minimum balance off your credit cards each month
- You are occasionally late making payments on bills or you skip them completely
- You don't know how much debt you actually have
- You have been denied credit
- Your salary does not clear your overdraft
If you are not in control of your finances, or just worried about not having enough money, then the first step is to take stock of everything. By tackling things now, you'll be much better in the long run - both financially and emotionally. The first section explores this further.
Steps to take to pay off debt
If you have any existing debts or your borrowing is getting out of control, there's no better time to deal with them than now. Try these steps or talk to a financial health specialist for help and guidance.
- Usually the first step to getting out of debt is getting in control of your budget. Our steps on keeping a budget - the basics will help you to do this. Next, get a clearer picture of your debts by listing all your debts on our debt table - it's time well spent. For more information on how to assess your debt and create a plan to re-structure and negotiate with creditors log onto mabs.ie
- Getting out of debt involves making cut backs. Price comparison websites offer lots of practical tips on everyday savings that you can make.
- Move existing debts from expensive interest rates to lower rates. You may want to consider transferring store cards and high-interest credit cards to lower interest credit cards and loans, but watch out for any balance transfer fees with credit cards.
- Try not to put off talking to people you owe money to, including your lender. They will help you, which may seem strange, but it's actually in their interest too. Let them know early on that you are struggling to make your repayments. They may be able to help you manage them better by reducing your monthly repayment and extending out your loan term.
- Some people like to have some savings even when they're in debt. Check whether you're actually better off saving first, or whether it's better to repay your debts. This is easy - just compare the interest rate you pay with what you make on your savings. Remember you pay tax on the interest you earn on savings. If you are unsure, talk to your Bank or Building Society about all the options.
Further help with debt
Other helpful websites to help you manage your debt include:
Go back to EBS Family Finance
Go forward to Managing Your Mortgage