Debt can be something that goes unnoticed and slowly creeps up on you until it is too late. Even if you have allocated weekly or monthly budgets, those unexpected bills, dentist appointments or trips to the mechanic can slowly add up and force you into your overdraft or to use your credit and store cards to pay the bill. Reality will soon hit that you have borrowed money from multiple sources and when you find time to work out the exact total, you may realise you’re in quite a lot of debt.
Money Super Market recently conducted a study to discover the total debt the British public actually owe. The study revealed that this figure came to £196 billion and the amount that 18 to 34 year olds owed had doubled in the past year. Another highlight from this study was that people were concerned with how long it will take them to pay back their debts, with 14% believing it may take two to five years.
However, there is no need to panic and let your debt get on top of you. There are many ways to help keep your debt under control and stop it from increasing any further. One of the main ways to stop this is to be disciplined and choosing not to borrow any more money until you have paid off what you already owe. Try being wiser with your money and spend cash instead of using your debt, credit or store cards. This will make your expenditure more realistic, instead of using what can seem as fake money on a plastic card. It is also a good idea to cut up any store cards that you may have to resist any temptation that you may have.
Other ways to manage your debt can occur when organising utility bills. Setting up direct debits for utility bills is an easy way to save time, minimise worry and reap potential discounts from suppliers. It is simple to set up and can be completed by calling your bank, visiting a branch or enclosing a form to send onto your supplier. You could also save hundreds of pounds each year by switching suppliers. Have a shop around to see the best deals for your gas, electricity, broadband etc. and even try to barter them down to further reduce your costs.
All of these methods can help to control your debt but there are also lots of tools available to help break it down and work out how to pay it back in more manageable chunks. NatWest has recently created a tool which does just this and is titled the ‘Debt Calculator’ which you can find here.
The Debt Calculator allows users to collate all of their debt into one place including overdrafts, credit or store cards and also money owed to family and friends. Once all of this debt has been put into the calculator, the user can then set an amount which they would like to pay back each week or month to discover exactly how long it will take to pay back all of their debt. The calculator also allows users to select a preferred date that they would like to be debt free by and calculates how much money needs to be put aside each month in order to reach this deadline.
One of the most important factors to remember is to stay positive. It may feel at the time that it will take you ages to pay off this debt but remember, making these changes and paying back your debt one step at a time will help you have a debt free future.
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