When we think of disaster preparedness, getting out of debt is one that is never really thought about. But a great many of us have some kind of debt. These debts may be house mortgages, car loans, personal loans, and credit card debt, just to name a few. If you find yourself in a disastrous situation, you are still responsible for that debt, nonetheless.
Being in debt is not any fun. It can cause added stress to your life and ruin relationships. So when planning for any disasters it is a good idea to make yourself debt-free part of your entire survival plan.
Think about how long it took you to get into the position that you are in. Now just realize that it will take you some time to get out. Know that it will take handwork. The hard work will involve perseverance, patience, and motivation.
When planning your family survival guide, be sure to make being debt-free part of the plan. Here are 4 steps to follow.
Step 1 – Create a Detailed Budget
If you already have a budget, go ahead and be sure to update it so that it reflects all your monthly incomes and payments. On the other hand, if you do not have one, get one created with your monthly income and payments outline. You can look online to get some ideas on creating a detailed budget or download a free budget template to get started with.
A good budget will help you to see where all your spending goes every month – from your mortgage to credit cards to auto loans. Even those little things like coffee, gifts, and entertainment that you purchase on a daily basis.
Now, just keep in mind to get out of debt will take little time so it will require some time and effort. Once your budget is established, you will have a better handle on your fund’s interns of what is going out and what is coming in, and what you can really afford every month.
Step 2 – Make a Plan
- Examine your debts – Look at want kind of debts you have. Are they secure loans or unsecured loans?
- Tackle Secure Loans – First, pay off your secure loans. Your secure loans are usually fixed payments loans. These are things like car loans and mortgages. It is not that these types of loans are more important but if you miss payments on these loans you can end up losing whatever you are trying to secure.
- Unsecured Loans – Next, pay off your unsecured loans. These are loans such as credit cards and school loans. Start by listing them out from highest interest loans to lowest, paying the highest one off first.
- Make Minimum Payments – Continue to make minimum payments on everything as you normally do. By doing this, you will not fall behind.
- Pay Extra If You Can – When you can, try your best to pay extra. This will help to eliminate the debt faster. And remember, if you are having trouble making payments, you can always call your credit company and make some arrangements. It shows good faith on your part and it in their best interest for you to pay your bill.
Step 3 – Debt Consolidation Loan
You may want to consider a debt consolidation loan where you roll all of your current debt into one loan. This is only beneficial if it allows you to save on interest and avoid adding more to your debt.
Step 4 – Stop Padding Your Debt
This is where you have to show some toughness. There is no magic solution here. It is the best way to make some hard decisions in your life if you want to get out of debt. Plain and simple, stop spending on the little nonessential things. Some of these things include buying your daily lunch and buying coffee in the morning and mid-afternoon. Why not brown bag it, instead. It can save you thousands per year. Just think about where you can “trim the fat” in your budget and make changes in your lifestyle.
Here are some other ways to trim the fat:
- Take public transportation
- Use coupons
- Don’t buy the latest and greatest device when the one that you have works fine.
Another way to stop padding the debt in your life is to adopt and live by this motto: “if you can’t afford it you can’t have it”. That will help you avoid buying things that you will end up paying for down the road.
Step 4 – Be Creative
Look around your house and find all the “stuff” that you can live without then see if you can get some cash for them. You can have a yard sale or sell them online. Or if you have some extra time pick up some extra hours at work or pick up a part-time job. Another thing to avoid is not to spend your tax refund check as soon as you get it. Think hard before spending it. Use it to pay down your debt. There should be no excuses.
Being in debt can make you feel isolated or “bombed out”. If you are hit by a disaster, being in debt can make your ability to survive even harder. However, one thing to remember is that you are not alone and there are people that you can reach out to that are willing to help you.
By just acknowledge that you need help and begin to eliminate your debt will put you down the right path if you and your family are struck by a disaster.
If you follow these steps you will slowly but surely chip away at what you owe and be more equipped to survive a family disaster.