Debting is an ancient art. Yet, as recently as the 19th century, those who couldn’t pay their bills on time were usually thrown into dark, cobweb-filled cellars known as debtors’ prisons. It was a sane option considering the alternatives—indentured servitude, disfigurement, or death. These days, penalties aren’t as brutal. However, the emotional toll of overwhelming debt can create a personal prison equally agonizing.
If you want to buckle down the spending belt, experts agree on these tried and true measures for viewing the light at the end of debt’s tunnel.
1. Just say no.
The first step to a debt-free existence is to stop accruing more debt. Temptation is the devil’s playground. In order to resist a chronic descent into debtor’s Hades, you often have to cut up your cards.
2. Track your daily spending for 30 days and compare it to your income.
If your expenses exceed your income, you’ll need to either cut back your spending or increase your earnings in order to get out of debt permanently. Once you have these numbers, you can develop a spending plan consistent with your cash flow.
3. Consolidate your debts into one account.
Choose a low-interest credit card. Cutting your interest will enable you to pay off your principal more quickly. Let Pen Air FCU help you save and simplify your payments. Consolidate your high-rate credit card accounts onto a new Pen Air FCU MasterCard® by March 31, 2015 and enjoy a low balance transfer rate of 3.99%1 APR through January 2016.
Step four: Begin a savings plan. Even if it’s a small amount, it’s important to get into the habit. Replace your old pattern of getting deeper into debt with a new pattern of saving to prevent it.
It’s okay to want the better things in life. However, if you learn to live within your means, the happiness and peace of mind you’ll acquire will be worth more than all the debt in the world. You may discover that BMW can also mean Becoming Money Wise.
¹3.99% APR available for balance transfers made 1/15/15 through 3/31/15 onto a new Pen Air FCU MasterCard®. The 3.99% APR balance transfer rate is good through the January 2016 billing period as long as your account remains in good standing. After the January 2016 billing statement period, unpaid balances revert to your approved standard variable APR which ranges from 8.90% to 18.0%APR and based on creditworthiness, qualifications and collateral conditions. If you fail to make a payment that is due for two (2) or more consecutive billing periods, the special rate will default to your Penalty APR. Cash advance fee is $5.00 or 3.00% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater. Foreign transaction fee is 1.00% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. Current Pen Air FCU credit card and loan balances are not eligible for the promotion. Subject to credit approval. Additional limitations, terms and conditions may apply.