So you have gotten yourself in to a bit (or a lot) of debt. And now you have finally taken the time to assess the situation and it isn't good. In fact, you are really not sure how you are going to make it through the next month. None of the options are appetizing. So what are you going to do?
Firstly, sit back and breath for a minute. (Seriously.) Try to calm down and clear your mind. What you are going to do is achievable. And it is achievable on your own as long as you have a job and a head on your shoulders. It is going to take some time, but you will make it through this.
If you have thought about calling a debt consolidation service, think again. You got yourself into this debt and unless you get yourself out of it; you are just going to keep going in circles. Instead, take these steps. They are what a debt consolidation service would tell you to do, but by doing it yourself, you will actually stay out of debt.
How To Do Your Own Debt Consolidation
It is a bit of a cliché, but everything you do in this life starts out small. The same as your debt started as just a bill or two that you decided against paying off in full, so too is the wealth you are about to start building. Both debt and wealth grow at exponential rates. Realise that for the near future you will be living a simpler life that you may be used to, but that it is leading back to a life that is larger than you could have imagined. With your DIY debt consolidation, you will start small, but it will get easier and move faster as time goes on.
Wake Up Earlier
This may seem to be a silly step to undertake in debt consolidation, but think of it as the steps up to the front door of a house, rather than the internal stairway to the second floor. But, this is the basis for making things happen in your life and to debt relief. When you wake earlier in the morning, you are able to get more done in the day, as long as you use it wisely. Take the time to pack a lunch before going to work so you don't spend money you don't have to get you through the day. You can also use this time to organize your finances or your home. As you plan and set goals at the beginning of the morning, the more likely you are to stick to them throughout the day and the week. If you really can not think of a reason to wake up earlier, take the time to search for a new job. You may not think you want one or that you will find one, but one of the quickest ways to get out of debt is to have more money to put towards it.
Call Your Creditors
This is the most important thing you need to do towards bringing down your debt. In fact, this is what non-profit debt consolidation services will do for you. If you can, you should do it yourself as this will give you a reason to stick with your plans and commitments. It isn't just a matter of calling your creditors to say hello; you need to make a deal with them. Use all the tricks you have used on yourself to get a new credit card or to charge it to the max. Explain to each creditor, from department stores to outstanding medical bills, that you are acknowledging your debt and will be working to pay it down. Ask for a reduced interest rate for as long as you make each payment on time. Also ask for reduced minimum payments. The goal of debt consolidation is to avoid accrual of new debt as you pay off old debt. You need to be able to live off money earned each month and not money borrowed each month.
Debt consolidation works only if you stand up to face it head on. It may not sound like you are consolidating anything, however this is what debt consolidator will do for you, except you will send them a check every month instead of four or a dozen. It is rarely better to actually consolidate your debt at all.
When to Take a Loan
Only once you have gotten the hang of thinking of old debt as something to be paid off slowly while you live off what you earn should you consider debt consolidation in the form of a loan or a credit card with low to no interest for a time. You should never consider refinancing old debt in this way until you are living comfortably off income earned because you are likely to fall into the same traps over and over again. To really take advantage of this method of debt consolidation, you should save this option until you have a bit of extra income coming in or you are ready to really cut back on day-to-day expenses.
Sell or Save
When you can, look around at all the things you have that were purchased on credit and are not actually paid for. You bought it for a reason; but whether it is to decorate your house or to stay in the latest fashion, you need to use these items to get you by. Sell whatever you can (and you won't believe what people are searching for on eBay) to help you get by. It wasn't yours to begin with. Anything that can't be sold, but you haven't used as a replacement for something, such as a new pair of shoes you have only worn once, should be packed up and stored in your house. When you need to have something new and you really can't fight the urge, tuck into that shop hidden at the top of your closet. Treat yourself from this before you drive to the next store or place another Amazon order. It may not be an real step towards debt consolidation, however it will help train your mind towards right thinking.
Change the Way You Think About Money
This is the hardest thing to do when it comes to debt consolidation, but it is what will see you through this and into a new wealth you could not have imagined before. Remember that money works exponentially; your debt grew that way, but so will the positive balance in your account. But debt and wealth don't grow at the same rate. Once you have paid off your debt, your goal is to save money and to save enough that exponential earnings work quicker than you can believe. You can only save at this rate once you have paid off your debt because that is when you will have control over where your income will go. As your money grows, you will view thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands in a different way. Start training your mind to get to this point now. When millions is a possibility in your mind, you will work harder and make the decisions that will get you there.
Take another deep breath. You will get through this and you will achieve not only debt consolidation, but wealth. Relax for the rest of the evening and start by waking up early tomorrow to make a list of all the creditors you need to call on your lunch hour.