The most important thing is to try and avoid missing statements and having unauthorised overdrafts. Always maintain the minimum payments and always try to pay off the high interest bearing accounts first. If possible try to consolidate your debts in one place where you can get the lowest interest rates.
6 Tips for Reducing your debt Payments
- Make a list of all your debts, write down how much you owe and what interest you are paying. This will include things like student loans, bank overdrafts, credit card loans.
- If you are borrowing money at a high interest rate this is the first loan to try and pay off. If appropriate you could try switching the loan from one place to another. E.g. if you are paying 17% on a credit card. You may be better off to take out a personal loan of 7%.
- Make sure you avoid any unnecessary penalties. If you are struggling with repayments you may be surprised at how accommodating banks might actually be. It is important to try arranging an overdraft before you go overdrawn. Otherwise you will pay both a higher interest rate and penalty charges.
- One of my top tips for avoiding high credit card debts is to periodically take out a credit card, which offers 0% interest for the first 6 or 9 months. At the end of the 9-month period you can switch the balance to a new credit card. This is a way to juggle £3-4,000 without paying any interest. When you buy expensive things put it on your credit card and avoid going overdrawn. I use this system to make sure I never have any cash flow problems and don’t need to arrange an overdraft. Some credit card companies charge a fee of 1-2% of balance transfers. In effect this means the 9 month loan is like having a 3% interest rate, but 3% is much more reasonable than 17%
- If you ever make a late payment on your credit card or go overdrawn. It is very important that you immediately ring up your Credit Card Company and bank. Or if appropriate you could write them a very nice letter. Say that you are always a good payer but very unfortunately your last payment seems to have got lost in the post. I have done this on a couple of occasions when I forgot or it did get lost in the post. The credit card company has always agreed to repay the penalty. Also very importantly they do not hold it against your credit rating. It is very important to try and maintain a good credit rating, if you miss a couple of payments it will become more difficult to get credit cards in the future, or you will get charged higher interest payments.
- If the debt seems to be getting out of control it may be worth going through your financial situation with an adviser or somebody who can offer calm advice. Often you may find the situation is not as bad as you feared, with certain changes often you can reduce the debt burden quite considerably.
The most important thing is to try and avoid missing statements and having unauthorised overdrafts. Always maintain the minimum payments and always try to pay off the high interest bearing accounts first. If possible try to consolidate your debts in one place where you can get the lowest interest rates. Also it is important to consider your spending and income patterns as this is the root cause of debt