American consumers’ spending habits have received criticism across the board from financial experts to online bloggers. Moreover, every now and then we hear about a pop star going bankrupt. But writing on this topic once again is necessary when you consider the ground realities.

US consumers currently are carrying balances of over $850 billion on their credit cards. Although this figure is lower than the $950 billion peak of 2009-2010, credit cards are still responsible for leaving many people in debt. In fact, they just fall behind mortgages and students loans in doing so.

Why the Second Year of Paying Off Debt Is the Hardest

As the addiction of plastic moneys refuses to let go, we can all learn something from the popular article “Why the Second Year of Paying Off Debt Is the Hardest”.  For people already in debt, this article provides real-life lessons on how they can work towards debt amortization. For those readers who have managed to keep their head above water, this article is an eye opener.

Lisette Reed, the author, talks about how she planned with her husband to get out of debt in the early years of their marriage. She recounts how she and her husband were working 2 jobs and cutting their expenses down to “the barest bones”. In the first year by doing all of that, they managed to repay $28,000.

Reed tells us that while this looks like an achievement, things are far from over now as they have entered the second year of debt recovery. What she describes next will definitely leave you speechless. The idea of selling clothes, prized possessions, old shoes, and even thinking about working overnight jobs will disturb many people just by reading it.  She even had to cancel her Netflix subscription to save on electricity and internet bills!

Is it really that Bad?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is in the positive. Even if you do not want to go as extreme as Reed and her husband and continue enjoying some luxuries once in a while, you need to remember that every such luxury will only delay your loan repayment.

If you stay in debt for a long time, it will not only affect your career and credit score, but your well being as well. Long-term financial worries lead to stress which in turn is a major cause of depression, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.  If you fall sick during your repayment years, the extra medical bills will brutally hinder your progress.

That is why experts recommend that you put your debts in order and then pay the ones with the highest interest rates first. Dave Ramsey on the other hand suggests that you should start repaying debts in ascending order i.e. paying the smallest ones first along with little payments on other debts. Once the smallest debt is cleared, the amount spent on it “rolls” to the next debt in the chain. This is what Ramsey refers to as the “Debt-snowball” method.

Tips to Pay Back your Debts

Finally, here are some tips that you can take away from this article to work towards greater financial freedom.

  • List down your debts

Take a moment to calculate the list of creditors and how much you owe to each one. Also note down the interest rate you are playing on every debt. Nowadays, you don’t have to do this manually as various digital tools have been developed to calculate debts. Tools like Mint.com are even free of cost.

  • Determine your spending pattern

Take any 30-day month to determine your average spending pattern. To aid you in calculating how much you spend, try to obtain a receipt every time you shop. Track down the smallest of items, such as candy bars and then see which avoidable expenses are putting the greatest strain on your wallet. Cut them down completely.

  • Go for debt consolidation

Debt consolidation refers to the repayment plan where you combine all your liabilities into one low interest loan. This is a great option for people who have a hard time keeping track of their debts.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article was to educate you about all that is involved in debt repayment. For those that struggle with debt, all they really want to do is be debt free.  ConsolidatedCredit.org has loads of helpful information for helping people reach their goals. Seek help now.

About the Author

This article is composed by Elaine McPartland who is associated with “Consolidated Credit” as their community writer. She has an expertise in writing articles related to debt consolidation and how to pay off debts easily and smoothly.

5 Comments

  1. Right now, I think paying off debt is just getting easier. I am SO motivated to get rid of them! 🙂

    • @Michelle – That’s great! I’m working on a 16-month plan to be consumer debt free by next summer. Then, I’ll tackle my student loans. So far, so good.

  2. PIcking a month and writing it all down , everything you spend and make, it’s pretty interesting. My wife and I did that years ago and were shocked. You think you know your finances, but then you really write everything down and get quite the surprise!

    • @TB – I use Quickbooks that tracks all of our expenses and income. I’ve noticed a freakish pattern the last two years; we spend more than we earn! I’ve tweaked our spending and so far we’ve been able to reign in the excess spending and increase our income a bit. This year looks good so far. 😉

  3. Good point about determining your spending pattern – that is definitely a good way to start finding out where your money is going every month. Many people are surprised at how much they end up spending on the little things.

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