If you’re dealing with late payments or debts, it probably has quite an impact on your life. It may stress you out or make you hopeless. That you have the idea that things will never work out or that you have no idea where to start paying off your debts. To make sure your current problems are resolved and don’t get worse, you need to take action. In this article, we will therefore give you 10 tips to get out of debt.
First, we want to assure you that being in debt is nothing to be ashamed of. 1 in 3 people will sooner or later have to deal with payment arrears or debts.
Despite the taboo that is (a little bit) about it, you are certainly not alone. Therefore: be honest about it. Not only to yourself but also to others.
That way you can already take the first step in solving the problems.
Other tips include:
1. Provide an overview
If you are short of money every month and you can not pay for more and more things, you may lose the overview a bit. Losing an overview then makes you feel overwhelmed. With the following steps, you can ensure an overview.
Step 1. Record your income
First, start by recording your income. How much money is coming in every month? Are you entitled to allowances? And if so, what is the amount that you receive in allowances? Write these numbers down.
Step 2. Write down your fixed costs
Once you know what’s coming in, it’s time to see what needs to be paid. Start collecting your fixed expenses. What does your house cost (rent/mortgage)?
How much do you pay for your insurance? What are the costs for your internet and TV and your gas, water, and light?
How expensive is your telephone subscription? Collect all fixed costs and write them down.
Step 3. Calculate how much you spend on groceries
How much money do you spend on your groceries every month? Take a look at how much you spent on groceries in the past three months and take the average. Also note this amount.
Step 4. Write down your other expenses
In addition to the above expenses, there are most likely other costs that you will have to deal with.
How much do you (on average) spend on petrol per month? Or on public transport? Ordering food? Or buying clothes or other stuff? Also, write down these numbers.
Step 5. Subtract expenses from income
If you have collected the above data, you have an idea of what is coming in and what is being spent every month.
By deducting your expenses from your income, you can immediately see what you do or don’t have left over each month. Also, write down this amount.
2. Map your debts
To clarify exactly how high your debts are, it is smart to also make an overview. Write down the amounts that you (should) have to repay each month. If you have mapped out your debts, you know exactly where it stands.
This can be a bit of a shock, especially if it turns out that you don’t have enough money left to pay off your debts.
With the following tips, we will try to help you solve that problem.
3. Make a repayment plan
Some online companies have created a handy tool with which you can put together a repayment plan. With those tools, you will, among other things, enter the data that you have collected above.
On the basis of that data, you then get a clear overview of the scope of your budget and how you could divide it among the creditors.
You can also immediately see how long it will take before you are debt-free. The action plan also ensures that you can see exactly what needs to be arranged.
You will get access to handy sample letters that you could send creditors to make a payment arrangement.
4. Payment Arrangement
Do you receive a letter from a creditor or a collection agency? Then always respond to that letter. Ignoring it only makes things more difficult. Can’t pay the amount you owe in one go?
Then ask for a payment arrangement. Make sure that you make agreements that are feasible for you. In most cases, the creditor will agree, if that’s the way they will receive the amount owed from you.
Do you have payment plans that you cannot afford? Please contact the creditor to discuss this.
Ask whether the installment amounts can be adjusted because it is currently not possible for you to pay the amount that has been calculated.
For example, indicate that you are unable to repay 50 dollars per month, but that 30 dollars are successful. In most cases, it will be possible to reduce the installment amount.
Did you know that things like city taxes can be waived for people who can’t afford them?
Not having to pay these kinds of costs will save you hundreds of euros per year. More information about this can be found in the letter about municipal taxes or online.
If you’ve used the first tip and mapped out all your income and expenses, you’ll have a clear idea of exactly where your money is going. Knowing that will also help you determine where you could save money.
Below are a few tips:
View your subscriptions and fixed costs
Almost anyone can cut back on your fixed costs. Which subscriptions do you have and which of them are needed? It is smart to look critically at this.
Cancel that subscription to the newspaper, magazine, or the gym (for now) and start exercising outside or at home and read the newspaper online. And your telephone subscription, can’t that be cheaper?
There is also likely to be a (considerable) profit to be made on groceries. Take a look at what you spend on it and how it can be done cheaper.
For example, buy more often at a cheaper supermarket. Make lists so that you don’t buy more than necessary. And keep an eye on the offers to be able to stock up cheaper.
Also, see if you can save on your energy bill. You can save a lot of money not only by using energy in a smarter way (for example, turning down the heating by a degree) but also by checking whether there are cheaper suppliers.
Other saving tips
There are of course many more ways to live more frugally. Take the bike more often instead of the car or public transport. Take a shorter shower.
And buy new clothes or stuff less often. You can also find many more useful saving tips on this website.
6. Say no more often
Don’t make excuses for why you can’t go out to dinner or why you can’t go on a weekend trip, but just be honest that you don’t have the money for that sort of thing.
Then your family members and friends know what’s going on and you don’t have to bother to hide it.
Being honest about it will probably also make you feel a lot less stressed. It really helps to talk about it.
In addition, many outings that cost money can also be replaced by outings that cost less or nothing. So look for alternatives as well.
For example, watch a movie at home instead of in the cinema, or have a drink at home instead of in the pub.
7. Sell unnecessary stuff
Take a look at what you could possibly sell to make extra money.
For example, do you have an expensive phone? Then think about selling it and buying a cheaper one.
For example, also check whether you still have clothing, shoes, home decoration, furniture, or appliances that you no longer use and sell them.
You can use the money from the sale of your stuff to pay off your debt.
8. Avoid being overdrawn
Many people who structurally have too little money have a monthly overdraft on their checking account. Try to avoid this. The interest that you have to pay on that amount is quite high and that is a waste of your money.
9. Pay off loans and/or debts as soon as possible
Borrowing money costs money. That is why it is smart to pay off loans and debts as quickly as possible. Start paying off the smallest amounts.
Once these have been repaid, you no longer have to pay interest on them, so you have more left over.
Also use the extra income, such as your holiday pay, to pay off your loans and/or debts as quickly as possible.
Are you unable to pay off your loan quickly? Then see if there are cheaper alternatives for that loan.
10. Ask for Help
Are you unable to pay off your debts? Or do you have no idea how to approach that? Then it is wise to seek help.
For example, contact the municipality or a budget coach. They can help you with debt restructuring, for example. There are also more addresses online where you can go for help.
11. Find an (other) job
Have you fallen into debt because you lost your job? Or do you have a job that doesn’t earn you enough? Then finding a new or better-paying job is a smart move.
Some useful tips to quickly find a new job are:
- know what kind of job you would like
- make sure you have a strong CV that is up-to-date
- let people know that you are looking for a job (via social media such as LinkedIn)
- write a good motivation letter; why do you want that job?
- check the different job sites daily
- register with an employment agency
Tip: Especially if you need work quickly, it is sometimes necessary to settle for a less pleasant job. Remember that in the meantime (or later) you can start looking for a job that suits you better.
earn extra money
Do you have a job and do you like it there? Then you could check whether a salary increase is possible. Is that not possible or are you looking for ways to earn extra?
Then there are several ways in which you could earn extra money. Some options:
- complete online questionnaires
- are you handy? Then search (online) for chores you can do
- participate in health surveys
- become an Uber driver
- make products yourself (soap, decoration, clothing, cakes) and sell them
- become a mail deliverer or newspaper deliverer
- write texts for websites like textbroker.nl
- use your car as an advertising column
- take a side job in the catering industry
- become a mystery shopper
- become a delivery man for a restaurant
- tidy up old stuff to sell them
- walk dogs for a fee
- do you have a blog or website? Then you can place affiliate links on it
Getting out of debt
Debt has a major impact on your life. With the tips in this article you can try to pay off your debts (as quickly as possible). It is first and foremost important that you map out your finances so that you have a clear overview.
You can then see in which areas profit can be made and how you can reduce your expenses.
Can’t figure it out yourself? Then there are agencies that can help you.
Please contact your municipality for this. They can help you.