Learn the best strategies for getting your debt under control and returning to healthy finances.
Below we look at how to cut expenses, manage your finances and increase your income: jump right in and make your first step to becoming debt free.
If you feel like your finances are unmanageable and don’t know what to do, seeing a financial counselor could be the first step you need to make.
The Top Finance Apps
There are plenty of apps available to help you manage your finances, and here we take a look at some of the best ones – and the easiest to use.
Write A Spending Plan
Writing a spending plan helps you understand your finances better and start reducing your level of debt: find out how to create one here.
Credit Card Transfers
Transferring your credit card debt to a new card can save you interest charges – at least during the promotional period: find out more.
Save Money on Clothing
Here we share some tips on how to get a new outfit for less – you won’t need to blow your budget to look great.
Reduce Energy Bills
Cutting down your electricity consumption will save you money and help the environment too.
Save on Groceries
No need to starve yourself: get the best value when grocery shopping by following these easy tips.
Electronics for Less
If you need to buy electronic goods, you can avoid paying premium rates by following these suggestions.
Managing Your Finances
Many people find themselves falling into debt through a lack of effective financial planning. Learning how to manage your finances properly should be one of your absolute top priorities.
Writing a Spending Plan
You may have heard the saying: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – don’t make this all-too-common mistake. If you don’t already have one, writing a thorough spending plan is the first step to getting your personal finances back on the right track. If you don’t know how to write a spending plan – or even know what it is – don’t worry, we will walk you right the way through it.
Reducing Your Debt
There are many forms of debt, some – like a mortgage or a car loan – can be considered an accepted part of life for many of us, while other types of debt can be damaging and quickly spiral out of control. Don’t wait until you’re in too deep: take action today.
Increasing Your Earning Ability
Some people can seem to get trapped in the “spend less” mindset, and while it is an important part of reducing debt, finding ways to create more income will help you back into a healthy financial position faster. And it’s not just about taking a second job or working longer hours (although that may be a necessary immediate action) – upgrading your skill-set may be just what you need for a more prosperous future.
Personal Debt: A Growing Problem in America
It seems that nearly everyone these days is affected by debt in some way, shape or form. Whether it’s auto loans, home loans, credit cards, or a myriad of other loans, this modern form of financially indentured servitude seems to becoming the norm for many United States citizens. Many US consumers struggle to pay their debts and will often have to either stop making payments to help make ends meet, or declare bankruptcy as a last resort means for financial relief.
It can be very easy to slip into the debilitating cycle of debt, especially if you don’t know how to handle debt or understand it. Too many people (some as young as 18!) are finding themselves ensnared in the trap of credit cards and loans, and the problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
At the beginning of 2013, the Federal Reserve claimed that the total debt of households in the US was $11.28 trillion in debt. This has since gone down to about 1.4% from 2012. Compared to other countries, the UK claimed that £1.424 trillion (approximately $2.169 trillion USD) was the total debt of its citizens in 2013. Canada was much further behind with a household debt total of $14.7 billion.
U.S. Credit Card Debt
The average figures for credit card debt for an entire household hover around the $15,000 mark. This is certainly an issue that can create lots of problems for many families. After all, it is the third largest debt that households face. Many households have to borrow to make ends meet, as income and employment rates are not improving as quickly as debt is being incurred.
Credit card debt can easily spiral out of control when cards are used carelessly and without any thought given to future implications of racking up a sizable balance. These are usually the individuals that use their credit cards for spur-of-the-moment shopping sprees and will often find themselves making “impulse buys” that they neither need nor can afford.
Other loans are typically something that most of us have to deal with. We all need homes to live in, many of us need cars to drive and certainly most of us need an education. However, credit card debt is the type of debt that could be easily avoided with careful planning and financial knowledge.
Only approximately 25% of Americans do not have a single credit card. The rest of us make up a total of the $848 billion in credit card debt calculated as of early 2013. Again, much of this debt is unfortunately caused by careless and thoughtless spending that could have been avoided altogether.
U.S. Mortgages and the Debt Crisis
In 2010, the average price of a home in the US was $272,900. After a three-year drop in average prices, 2010 saw the housing price start to climb again. Of course, not very many people have the money to buy a house without the aid of a mortgage. A mortgage payment has thus become a part of life, however some people bought houses beyond their means which has now caused a boom in recent foreclosures. There is a $7.93 trillion debt in mortgages in the US and people from the UK have amassed £1.266 trillion (over $1.923 trillion USD) in mortgages, while people from Canada have managed to bring their total up to $11 billion.
Australians have an individual average of $343,000 in mortgage debt. According to Australian financial experts, the average wage of Australians makes them extremely stressed and hardly able to handle the mortgage payments they are currently struggling to make. Australians typically make around $1,000 per week, while the average in the US is about $700. In the US, the average household has a $148,818 mortgage. This is obviously significantly lower than their Australian counterparts’ debt, perhaps making the strain a little less for Americans in comparison to the Aussies.
U.S. Student Loans
Student loan rates are staggering. For the average person that required student loans to get through college, they can sometimes seem like they’ll never be paid off (this is sadly true for many individuals). Although student loans can be deferred or put off in times of economic hardships, the debt still remains and waits to be paid. In the US, student loans have risen as much as almost 12% in just one year. US citizens have now amassed over $1 billion in student loan debt leaving the average American with $33,005 in this type of debt.