Your Debt-Reduction Checklist
Are worries about debt weighing you down? Use this checklist to help you curb your expenses and get in better financial health.
- Cut up your credit cards. If you want to keep one, leave it at home.
- Organize your financial records. Figure out how much you owe and to whom.
- Track what you spend this month, looking for unnecessary expenses you can cut next month.
- Pay bills on time to avoid late charges.
- Pay credit card balances in full if you can. Next best thing: Make more than the minimum payment.
- Target debts that have the highest interest rates and fees. Pay them off first.
- Ask for a raise, offer to work overtime, or look for a second job. Use any extra income to lower debt.
- Hold a yard sale or sell items you don't need online. Use whatever you make to pay bills.
- Start an emergency fund. Use that instead of a credit card for unexpected expenses.
- Create a barter system. Swap items and services with friends and neighbors to cut expenses.
- Look for low-cost entertainment – public parks, movies from the public library, picnics instead of restaurant dinners.
- Talk with your family. Get everyone’s buy-in on your debt-reduction plan.
- Contact your creditors. Ask about negotiating a payment plan.
- Consolidate higher-interest credit card balances to one with a lower interest rate.
- Keep your eyes on the future! Paying off bills isn’t fun now, but it will improve your life and help you achieve goals long term.