The ABC’s of Debt Reduction

The economic effects of the recession of 2008 are still very much upon us. It will take years to see a dramatic reversal of the unemployment trend that saw the US unemployment rate nearly reach 10%.  As a result of the recession, many have resolved to forever alter the way that they conduct their household business.  For some this wakeup call came as a result of losing their home in foreclosure or their car in repossession.  Others were awakened by the loss of a primary or secondary salary that had been essential to keeping a household above water.  Regardless as to the specifics, many Americans have elected to decrease spending, increase savings and eradicate debt.

Pick a plan that works for you

Fortunately, there is no one size fits all plan to debt reduction.  The needs, goals and temperament of every household are unique.  Some families find it feasible to make drastic cuts to non essential expenditures such as entertainment, dining out, and vacationing.  While this may be one of the quickest ways to sock away money for the purpose of debt reduction, it’s likewise the least pleasurable.

It’s important to remember that any plan is only as effective to the degree that it’s adhered to.  Therefore, the more realistic a plan is for your individual temperament and lifestyle the more successful it will be.  The plan only works when you work the plan; otherwise it’s just words on a page.

Create a budget

A simple prerequisite to debt reduction is knowledge. You must become knowledgeable of exactly how much money is coming in and going out of your household.  It’s time that you put yourself and your family on a monthly budget. A simple budget allows you to regulate spending as well as track cost. Sacrifice isn’t the only solution to reducing expenditures.  Sometimes shopping around may be an easy fix. However, you’ll never know until you become aware of exactly what you’ve been spending money on.

That’s where a budget comes in handy.  Budgets are also helpful tools to identify and minimize waste.  A few dollars here and there seems harmless.  It’s not until those small isolated expenditures are tabulated in a monthly budget that most people realize how quickly waste adds up.

Use a savings account to pay down debts

Once you have devised a monthly budget, you can properly account for household income and expenditures.  The monthly surplus will become the funding source for debt reduction and savings.  If necessary, budget surplus can be increased by cutting expenditures.  It’s important to realize that monthly contributions to a savings account are very important.  Establishing a funding source to eradicate incurring new debt is equally as important to the debt reduction picture as paying off old debt.

Debt has become a way of life for so many.  As such, the primary focus has been on just making the minimum payment. While this may keep your credit in good shape, your finances will remain in shambles. A budget will allow you to pay off your debts a whole lot faster.

So readers, how are you recovering from the recession?


The ABC’s of Debt Reduction — 4 Comments

  1. My wife and I are recovering from the recession by carpooling to work. It’s a little bit of a pain logistically but between gas and tolls it amounts to $60/week which really adds up when you look at it over the course of a year.

    • @Justin. I can totally relate. Good for you on coming up with something that not only saves you some money but also is more green. My husband and I also carpool since parking at our work place costs $160 a month alone, not to mention the wear and tear on the car and gas fees. Sometimes the pain in logistics is worth it.

  2. This recession affects state budgets which ultimately touches school budgets. It has been a difficult three years watching cuts of the basics in education. The inflationary price increases affects us on the other end. Hopefully, things are getting better.

    • @Krantcents. I hope so too. We have felt the recession here as well with gas and food prices. Since we don’t have kids I am not sure what has happened with the school budgets.

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