April is National Financial Literacy Capability Month and a good time for consumers to educate
themselves about how to manage their debt. There are strategies anyone can use to pay down
debt, without considering a consolidation loan.
The first step is to stop additional spending. It’s only adding to your debt problem. Take a hard
look at where your money is going. Eliminate non-essential expenses and look for other ways to
save, such as cheaper phone plans, stop eating out, and forego costly morning coffee.
Compile a list of what you make each month and a list of all your debt. Add up the minimum
payments. It can be helpful to divide the debt total by the 4 weeks of the month and keep an
equal amount out of each paycheck.
Pay down the smallest credit card balance first. When that one is paid off, take the money you
were paying on the small balance and add it to the payment on the next smallest balance. It can
be helpful to switch a balance from a high interest card to one with a lower interest rate.
Call the people you owe money to – explain that you’re having trouble paying what you owe
and why. Ask if there’s a way your payments can be reduced or if they have an available
payment plan. Some companies are willing to work with you.
If you receive a call from a debt recovery company, make sure its legitimate. There are
numerous scams operating and the debt may not even be yours. Mistakes do happen.
Never make an immediate “first” payment over the phone. Ask what creditor the agency is
representing. Never make payments unless you know the creditor for which the collection
agency is working. Call the creditor to see if they’ve sent the debt to collections.
Keep a Log
Keep a log of the collection agencies that call, the date, time, and name of the person you
talked to. It's illegal for collection agency representatives to intimidate, threaten or use bad
language. Send a request via certified mail with return receipt requested, indicating they should
stop. If the agency continues to call, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs. We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today (843) 347-0849 and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!