Paying off student loans wouldn’t be so bad if they were the only financial obligation you had. Trying to come up with money for rent, utilities, internet, cable, gas, and food on top of your loans can be a lot to handle.
Paying off school loans and juggling life expenses can seem impossible when you’re deep in debt. Even if Obama forgives student loans, you still may be struggling to pay the bills.
It’s possible to pay all of your bills and still have a little left over for yourself, but there are some things you have to do to achieve it.
Make certain bills a priority
You can’t be late when you pay your rent, but you may have a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to other payments.
You know that a late loan payment will show up on your credit report, but a late gas or electric bill won’t.
Obviously, you’d like to pay all of your bills on time. But when you start off you may have to prioritize some over others.
Figure out which bills can wait and which ones need to be paid on time. Research individual penalties including lateness and paying less than the amount due.
Once you figure out which bills need to be a priority, you can work on another essential part of your bill payment plan…
Determine your budget
If you don’t know what you can afford every month, you won’t be able to pay off bills or any kind of debt. If you want to handle your expenses you need to make a budget.
Start by looking at the money you bring in every month. Once you see how much you actually make (remember to include taxes), you can start allocating funds to certain expense.
When you’re planning your budget, the best advice is to be realistic. If you’re used to spending whatever you want on clothes, activities, or restaurants, you probably aren’t going to be able to immediately cut everything out.
Think about one thing you absolutely love, and budget that into your monthly spending. You won’t feel deprived, but you’ll also be able to start spending money in more efficient ways.
Look into different payment programs
If you’re struggling to pay your bills it’s worth looking into different payment programs you could qualify for.
Some companies will adjust your bills based on your income. Others will allow you to pay bills in increments if you’re struggling.
If you’re struggling with your loans, you should look into consolidating your loans. When your loans are combined you could end up paying less in interest and could even pay off your loans faster.
Be wary of scams
Don’t believe anybody that says they can get you out of debt with one simple trick (or lump sum payment). There’s an entire industry built around tricking people in debt out of their money.
Credit and financial counselors can be helpful, and so can direct representatives from the places you owe money to. But they should be the only people you talk to about your debt.
How did you get yourself out of debt? Do you have any tips for readers that want to get out of debt? Tell us about it in our comments section!