Reduce Your Debt
Let’s count the ways:
  1. Spend less. Save more: Use the savings to pay down your outstanding balance.

  2. Increase your income: Sell off some assets or get a part-time job. Apply the surplus to your debt.

  3. Do both: Spend less and earn more.

  4. Home - a - Loan: Get a home equity loan, an excellent option if you own your home and the bank approves. It also gives you a tax break on interest payments.

  5. Consolidate: Credit unions, banks that issue bank cards, and other financial institutions lump all of your bills into one IOU, so you pay one monthly bill. This simplifies your debt management and often reduces your percentage rate. Your credit history will be a factor, of course, but don’t dismiss this option without comparing the interest rates on debt consolidation loans with the rates you are paying on your credit cards. Shop around for your best deal.
Reality Check

If you use a Visa card with a 16% annual percentage rate, a department store credit card at 19%, another card at 21%, and a Master Card at 18%, and you carry a balance of $1,000 on each one, then you pay $740 a year in interest.

With a debt consolidation loan, you go from all those separate loans to one combined or consolidated loan, with one monthly payment. If you could get a consolidation loan at 15%, your interest would fall from $740 to $600 per year! That is a big savings. Plus, you would receive one monthly bill and zero hassle from your creditors.

One rule of thumb: once you consolidate, eliminate. Close your credit accounts and don’t open new ones, even when you are back on your feet. To manage debt, you not only have to make money, you have to stop spending so much. That proverbial rainy day gets in our forecast sooner or later. Be ready. Have your financial umbrella open.

Whichever methods you choose, involve the entire family, children included. Inform and include them with words that match their levels of maturity and understanding. You know your children best, but if you are at all uncertain what each of your children can handle, then seek professional advice first. When you are ready to talk with your children, calmly and simply say why you feel stressed out. Tell them you need them to understand your moods and help you solve the problem. Assure them it is not their fault (But don’t say you’re broke because of their father or mother which ever the case!). You will feel better and able to focus on your goal. The children will feel less stress just knowing the source of your stress and how they can help.

Welcome their assistance. Create team spirit within the household. Even your littlest ones will feel proud to give up a nickel of allowance here or a video rental there. Keep them informed of your progress.

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