How Much Debt Is “Too Much” to Tackle?

Debt can be a scary thing. While it allows us delay payments or to purchase items that would be out of our price range otherwise, it can certainly spiral to uncontrollable levels. When this happens, it can sometimes feel like you’re completely out of options. Some folks mistakenly believe that bankruptcy is the only way out of this rut.

Luckily, this isn’t the case. Try these strategies before deciding that you have too much debt to reduce it without filing for bankruptcy.

Have You Budgeted Your Expenses?

Before determining that your debt is totally out of your hands, you need to break down your expenses into an all-encompassing monthly budget. This should include all your costs—especially your debt balances and payments.

Putting together a monthly budget will do a few things. First, you’ll get to see exactly where you stand from a financial standpoint. When done right, the budget should account for all of your spending. Second, when you can see all your expenses laid out in front of you, it’s a lot easier to make decisions about where you can potentially reduce them.

These are a couple of the top places where people spend non-essential money every month:

  • Memberships and Subscriptions: Do you pay for multiple video streaming services, or mail subscriptions like Birchbox? Are you really using that gym membership? All these things incur costs on you every month. Decide which ones you’re really using, and what you can live without.
  • Dining Out: The average person in the United States eats out between four and five times per week. Needless to say, that’s more expensive than preparing your food at home. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s time to get better at cooking. You wallet (and your tummy) will thank you.

Is Your Debt Growing Even Though You’re Not Spending Much Money?

Maybe you’re paying toward your debt every month, but it just doesn’t seem to be decreasing in any meaningful way. This is likely because the interest accruing on your debt is greater than the amount that you’re paying each month. This can quickly become an issue when people opt to pay the minimum balance on credit cards.

High-interest rates are poison to people trying to pay off a large debt load. You need to pay off your highest interest debt first. Doing this can save you a ton of money. It’s also sometimes possible to transfer your balance to a 0 percent APR card, which charges no interest for a specified period. This will help you catch up on your debt payments. Just be aware of what the interest rate will be after that grace period.

There Are Resources to Help Manage Your Debt

For people who have exhausted these previous options, it’s time to look for help. There are organizations out there designed specifically for aiding people reduce their debt to more manageable levels. Freedom Debt Relief is one of these companies. You can look through some Freedom Debt Relief reviews to gain some peace of mind.

Going through these programs has helped real people get a hold of their financial situation.

Consider Selling What You Don’t Need

Nobody wants to say goodbye to their favorite possessions. However, there’s a difference between things that you want and things that you really need. In a situation where you’re totally over your head in debt, it’s time to start parsing down to the essentials. What things do you have that might bring you some substantial cash if you resell them? Start posting things on eBay or Craigslist if you think you might be able to make some money to help pay down your debt.

Then again, don’t just sell things and then buy back something similar later for full price. Be smart about what you keep and what you let go. This way, you’ll be able to cut down your debt with larger payments each month.

Many people feel like they’re in an impossible situation with their debt load. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get your finances under control. If you’re diligent, and stick to your plan, you can greatly reduce your debt levels.

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