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Use self help to get out of debt


If you have found yourself up to your ears in debt you might be wondering what you can do to stop the telephone calls looking for past due payments, get your bills under control and get your financial life back on track. While many companies offer debt management plans, you might be able to get your debt under control on your own.

Here are some things you can do to help yourself out of debt:

Develop a Budget

Gather all of your bills in one location on your kitchen table and sit down with your partner or spouse and make a list of every one of your creditors and the balances you owe to each of them. Then make a list of all of your income including interest payments that you might have access to from your investments. When you are listing your debts make sure you include all of your debts even those that may seem small and not worthy of attention. Every dime you owe should be carefully listed in your plan.

Contact Your Creditors

Unsecured credit bills - These include credit cards, medical bills and student loans. If you are having difficulty paying your bills, you want to contact all of your creditors as quickly as possible. Let them know exactly why you are having trouble paying your bills and speak to them about possibly reducing monthly payments to fit into your budget. Most credit card companies and other finance companies will be willing to work with you if you tell them what the problems are.

Secured credit bills - These include your home loan and car payments. As soon as you believe you will have a problem paying car or home payments you should contact your lender.

  • Car payments are much more difficult - If you miss even one payment they may repossess your automobile with no notice. You may want to look into the possibility of selling your car before it is repossessed.
  • Mortgage companies are accustomed to borrowers having difficulties and you want to do everything possible to prevent the loss of your home. If your mortgage company seems unwilling to work with you then you should contact your local HUD (Housing and Urban Development) office and seek assistance from them.

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Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

Make sure that you understand not only your obligations to your creditors but also your rights as a debtor. Federal Laws protect you from being contacted against your will at your place of business. You can request your creditor stop contacting you and they must do that. In addition, there are hours that they are allowed to contact you at home - and they must adhere to these under the Fair Credit Act.

You want to be as proactive as possible when dealing with creditors. The Federal Trade Commission - Bureau of Consumer Affairs has a wealth of resources for you to help educate you on your rights as a consumer.

Don't forget that as a consumer you have the right to request a complete credit report from all reporting agencies one time per year. Your credit report can help you when you're sitting down to develop your own personalized debt management plan.

Related topics: debt management plan, debt protection laws




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