Dealing with debt

The following is a Guest Post.

Most of us have been in debt at some point in our lives.  Credit cards, auto loans, mortgages – these are normal parts of being an adult.  Whether or not it was necessary to take on that debt in the first place is another story.  But many people do choose to do so, and are able to make their monthly payments on time and without hardship.

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For others however, their debt spirals out of control, often for reasons unexpected.  A small emergency paid for on a credit card, a much-needed car repair and a few visits to the doctor can all add up very quickly.  After a point, it may suddenly become a struggle to make those monthly payments.  While it’s tempting to just keep plodding along and hope that things will get better, the reality is that things won’t get better unless action is taken.  Being in debt can be a scary, lonely process, but there are ways to get out of it.

First of all, anyone who finds that they are unable to pay their minimum monthly obligations should immediately sit down and make a budget.  It’s easiest to just grab a piece of paper and list each monthly expense, one by one.  By tracking all of your bills and debts, it becomes easier to identify areas which can be cut back, potentially creating more cash flow.

Secondly, if there is still not enough money to pay the monthly bills, finding a second job or casual side income could help ease the burden.  If your income and your expenses are not too far apart, a few extra hundred dollars a month could make a big difference.  Flexible part-time jobs might include after-hours office cleaning, retail and fast food, or freelancing.

However, in some cases, it still may be a struggle to make the monthly payments on your debts.  For these situations, it is often best to seek out professional assistance.  Companies that specialize in consumer debt assistance can help you to get back on track and avoid bankruptcy.  One option is an individual voluntary agreement, or IVA.  An IVA allows the consumer to pay back an agreed monthly amount to the creditor, thereby escaping bankruptcy.  As with any financial plan, be sure to seek out advice from a reputable company before making any decisions.

Being in debt is not the end of the world.  Even when you feel trapped by your bills, there are solutions.  Things like sticking to a budget and generating more income will help whittle away your debts.  And if that doesn’t work, do not hesitate to seek professional advice.  Things like debt management plans and individual voluntary agreements, in conjunction with good financial habits, can help to get you back in control of your finances again.

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