Take control of your debt in 9 easy steps


Written by:


After the financial hardships of the past year that have affected millions of people across the country, many are working hard to manage their debt. With unprecedented job losses during the 2020 pandemic, many people have relied on credit to make ends meet. While this may have been a fortunate rescue at the time, it has left many with a sizable balloon of debt.


Living with considerable debt can feel like a dark cloud hovering over your head constantly. The stress of trying to avoid calls from creditors alone is enough to add pressure to anyone. However, being proactive and planning to contact your creditors through an Intelius directory can put you on the road to managing your debt.


While it may be tempting to ignore your debt, the fact is that reality will eventually catch up to you. Meeting your financial obligations head-on is the best way to start making a dent in your debt. So let’s take a closer look at a few ways that you can take command of your debt.

1. Know What You Owe

Before you can make a solid plan for managing your debt, you need to have a clear picture of everything you owe. It’s a good idea to create a list of all of your creditors, how much you owe, the number of your payments and the cost of your interest payments. Once you have your debts laid out, it’s easier to come up with a plan for the quickest repayment.


One way to obtain the records of your debts is to get a copy of your full credit report. All of your outstanding debts will be listed on your report. Take some time to ensure that every tradeline on your report is correct. It is not unusual for errors or past paid debts to show up on your credit report and affect your score.


When you create a list of your debts, you will better understand how to prioritize your payments. As you make payments, you can update your list for your reference.

2. Pay Your Bills On Time

The most obvious way to avoid getting into trouble with your debt is to make all of your payments on time. While this may seem like a workable system, there is more behind the idea than simply paying on time.

When you miss a payment, you will often be subject to a fee that will be added to your principal amount. In addition, if you were to miss two payments or more, it could result in your interest rates being increased, making it more expensive to pay down your original debt. Though it may take some time, making all of your payments on time will eventually help you to manage and bring down your debt.

3. Create a Budget

A great way to better view your finances is to create a simple budget. Always include all of your payments on your budget and list your income. This will help you to break down what payments are the highest priority. If you find yourself with too much debt overwhelming you, it’s a good idea to set some limits to your budget. You may have to buckle down for a few months and keep your payments to a minimum. Giving up some non-essential things in your life like magazine subscriptions, expensive cable packages and dining out can help you funnel more money towards your debt.

4. Calendar

Creating a bill payment calendar can help you to stay on target with your debt budget. Using a manual or digital calendar, make a note of when each of your payments is due. This will help you to avoid any missed payments that could result in extra fees. Using your digital calendar, you can set automatic reminders for yourself a few days before each payment is due so that you can budget each of your paychecks.

5. Minimum Payments

When you are trying to pay down your debt, you may only be able to afford to make the minimum payment. While this is fine, it’s not a solution that will help you to pay off your debts quickly. If you want to bring down your debts, it’s always a good idea to pay more than your minimum payments. Even if it is just a few dollars over your minimum, it will make a difference in the end. You can try splitting your payments up into weekly segments so that you are more easily able to add more to your payment.

6. Prioritize Your Debts

When you make a list of your debts, the second step should be to list them in the order of priority. Your mortgage should be at the top of your list. You always want to ensure that your housing bill is the first thing to be paid. After your housing costs, you should make a list of your priorities. Essential bills like insurance, car payments and utilities should be more of a priority than non-essentials like cable television packages.


You can also take a look at which of your payments has the highest interest rates. These debts are sometimes the hardest ones to make a dent in, even when you are making regular payments. Higher interest charges equal higher overall debt, so it’s a good idea to prioritize paying those debts as quickly as possible, or you can start paying off your lowest debts first to help stabilize your credit to debt ratio.

7. Collections

If you have delinquent accounts that have been sent to collections, it’s essential to give these your attention. When your debts are moved to a collection agent, it has a negative effect on your credit rating. However, you may only be able to pay off the debts that you can afford at any moment.


Keeping this in mind, accounts that are in collections have already affected your credit and shouldn’t be prioritized over others that are still in good standing. If there is a choice between making a payment on time and putting that money towards a collections account, you should always attempt to maintain your debts that are still in good standing. You can pay your collections accounts when you have the money.

8. Emergency Fund

The most common cause of financial trouble is when people experience a costly emergency like a vehicle breakdown or an unexpected medical bill. When you are living on a budget, any financial surprises can be devastating if you have limited savings. Once you have begun to manage and pay down your debt, it’s time to start creating an emergency fund. Putting aside a small amount of money each week can be a life-saver if you ever need cash in a hurry.

9. Get Help

Millions of people have found themselves swimming in the red of their own finances. One of the most important factors is recognizing when you are in over your head. If you feel overwhelmed by your financial situation, you can get the help you need from a credit advisor. They can help you to make a plan for repayment of your debt. Your advisor may suggest a consolidation loan, discuss bankruptcy options or debt settlement.



This article originally appeared on ArrestYourDebt.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

More from MediaFeed:

18 secret benefits of your Costco membership


If you’re a Costco member you already know how good the savings can be. But you might be missing out on even more perks that can wind up saving you even more. Here are 18 of the best benefits you might not even realize your Costco membership is getting you.





You can buy personal or business checks from Costco at lower cost than at many banks. Costco offers free standard delivery on checks. You can save an average of 50% by using your Costco membership for obtaining checks.




Costco offers comprehensive identity protection and credit monitoring for members. Costco’s monitoring and protection includes regular credit report updates, a multi-layered system of identity restoration services and information monitoring from Complete ID. Members pay $13.99 per month per person and executive members pay $8.99 per month per person.




Few people probably think of Costco when they think of buying or refinancing their home, but Costco members can use the company’s mortgage program through First Choice Loan Services Inc. Check Costco’s Mortgage Services page for information about current rates and Veterans Affairs loans.

Related: How to refinance your mortgage in 8 easy steps




Speaking of homes, Costco also has a home insurance program for members through Ameriprise. Costco members enjoy a discount on both home and auto insurance through the insurer.




Costco members can also see a discount on life insurance if they use their membership to sign up with Protective Life. Protective Life partners with Costco to make it easier and cheaper for Costco members to sign up for life insurance.




Did you realize you could get your dental care through Costco? Many people probably don’t. DeltaCare offers exclusive rates on dental plans for Costco members living in Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington state.




If you’re a Costco member, you can join the Costco Member Prescription Program to save money on your and your family’s prescriptions. You don’t need to have insurance and can enroll at any Costco Pharmacy. Your pets are even eligible for the program, through which Costco members can receive a Discount Card to use to save money on prescription drugs.




If you are looking for health insurance for your business and not just yourself, you may not realize that your Costco membership can get you discounts. Costco works with Carrier and other companies so members can find business health insurance plans for less.




Make sure vision is included in your business’ health insurance plan and get a discount while you’re at it. Costco works with MESVision to offer an affordable vision plan for businesses. Your employees will be able to make use of Costco Optical, as well as other locations.




Get bottled water delivered to your home or business with your Costco membership. You can select 3- or 5-gallon bottles, add an optional water dispenser, then select your delivery options to see your savings on bottled water delivery. The service starts at $6.49 per bottle for Costco members.




Your Costco membership can help you get cloud based telephone service for your business. Costco works with Intermedia Unite to provide business phone services. Members get special pricing from Intermedia Unite, as well as a free business phone for every user you activate.




Costco partners with Elavon to provide payment processing services for its business members. Whether you run a retail business or a restaurant, Costco members could save an average of $738 per year by using Elavon’s payment processing services.




Do you need logos for your business? Use your Costco membership to get custom logos from Harland Clarke. You can order products featuring your logo, including apparel, bags, cups and mugs, pens and more.




If you need a new car, look no further than your Costco membership. Find savings on autos by browsing new or pre-owned vehicles, motorcycles, powersports and RVs through Costco.




Or maybe you just need to rent a truck for the day. Costco can help there, too. Rent a truck through Budget Truck Rental and use your Costco membership for savings of up to 25%.




Your Costco membership can help you book and save money on your next vacation. Costco offers a travel website with deals on vacation packages, hotels, cruises and rental cars. If you happen to have a Costco executive member card, you can also earn rewards for travel.




Looking for a jolt of adrenaline? Find motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft and even snowmobiles through Costco’s auto program.




Get a discount on vehicles you already own. Costco members get a 15% discount off most parts, services and accessories. Use Costco’s website to find participating dealerships and service centers.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


Worayuth Kamonsuwan / istockphoto





Featured Image Credit: Rawpixel / istockphoto.