When many women think of debt management, they think of rearranging their budget so that they can pay off debts. But there is more to it than that. In fact, debt management is most effective when it’s done before debts get out of hand.
Debt management simply means keeping debts down to a level where they do not present a problem. Those who have managed debt successfully can usually pay off credit card balances each month, and they often put extra money toward loans to pay them off more quickly.
They do not take on more debt than they can handle, so they have no trouble paying it back.
Tips for managing debt successfully
- When going into debt for a necessity like a house or car, shop around for the best interest rates. This will keep your monthly payments lower. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t put extra money toward the payment each month and pay the loan off ahead of schedule.
- Shop around for credit cards as well. They are not all created equal. Some have higher interest rates than others, and some charge annual fees while others do not. If possible, get a card that offers cash back on purchases.
- Limit your credit cards to one or two. The more credit cards you have, the more temptation you will face. If you are managing your debt properly, you won’t need more than two cards anyway.
- Refrain from getting cash advances. These usually carry a higher interest rate than regular purchases. If you need cash in an emergency and must get an advance, paying it back as quickly as possible will minimize the charges.
When debt gets out of hand
One of the most important aspects of debt management is knowing when you’re getting into too much debt. Women often do not realize that they’re in too deep until their debt has become completely unmanageable, making it much more difficult to get back on track.
By recognizing when debt levels are getting too high, you can retain control of your finances. Early signs that you’re getting into too much debt include the following:
- You are having trouble making your minimum monthly payments.
- You use credit cards to buy everyday necessities, without paying the balance in full each month.
- Your total charges each month add up to more than your total payments.
- You are approaching your credit limit.
If you find that you are heading toward too much debt, taking action quickly could save you a lot of trouble – as well as a lot of money.
By recognizing the early signs of debt overload and paying debt off as quickly as possible, you could regain control over your finances before you know it. Really important as we get older to be able to have the retirement that we can enjoy.