Many have lost sources of income during the pandemic and fear being sucked into a deeper hole. If you have been financially impacted, you are not alone. Take a step back and look at things you can implement to ease the stress.
1: Understand what debt you are in
So much news is being thrown at you constantly and many people are bogged down by debt and never understand how much debt they are in or how much it will cost them in interest. First, you need to establish and make a list of what debts you have, how much debt you have, and how much the interest rate that is debt is costing you.
2: Tracking your spending
Take time to track your spending, record all costs like rent payments and all little costs that pop up. It is an eye-opening experience for many to see how many small purchases on a cup of coffee can add up to over €50 in a month! Do you really need to spend €17.99 each month on Netflix? Using free online resources like Mint.com is a great way to visually see your spending habits.
3: Make a list
Making a list of where your money goes is a great visual way to see where your money is going. First, create a list of things you need to spend, those will be your bare minimum food and rent budget. Next, create a want list like a café date with your friends. Really focus to see what is essential and what is not. With that in mind try to cut out as much money from your want list and focus solely on your essentials list.
4: Snowball method
This method was popularized by Dave Ramsey. It is where you pay off your smaller debts and slowly moves onto the bigger ones. Ramsey suggests there are lots of psychologically good benefits to pay off the smaller debts first. By seeing you are getting your debts being paid off sooner it gives the individual a mental boost to stick with it long term and move on to the larger debts one has. With the first debt paid off, it frees up some cash flow that you can use to pay off the larger balances.
5: Make more money
If you are following all these steps and barely scraping by it means you need to make more money. It is easy to say but that is the reality. Try picking up more shifts or working overtime or picking up a side job. It will be worth it in the short term to pay off your debts so you can free yourself from the shackles in the long term significantly.
Bio: Lucas Zhang was a Finance major at Ohio State University. He writes about finance, mortgages, and technology for Irish Mortgage Brokers.