Debt isn’t always a bad thing. For most people, it’s their only means to pay for their education, buy some assets, or expand their business. However, if debts are not managed well, no matter how small they are, they can take a toll on your financial health. That’s why keeping up with your payments is essential to stay on top of your debts.
But what if you have multiple sources of debt? Making payments on your mortgage, student loan, and credit card bills at the same time every month could be overwhelming. Although it’s tempting to make late payments or default on any of them, doing so may drown you more in debt.
If you don’t want that to happen, we’ve highlighted some ways on how to manage multiple debts without a late or missed payment.
Create A Budget Plan
It would be hard to manage your debts if you don’t know how to take control of your finances in the first place. To start with, you need to make a realistic assessment of how much money you’re earning and spending. You’re going to list all your income and your fixed expenses — those that are the same each month.
Once you have the numbers, you can create a budget detailing where all your money goes. Make it a priority to pay your debts every month and put extra money for them as much as you can. By doing this, you have a contingency budget that would cover for them in case you’d be struggling to make payments in the coming months.
Note that a budget must serve as your barometer of what’s a necessity and what’s an indulgence that could lead to spending too much and, in turn, cause financial stress.
Cut Your Expenses
By taking a serious look at your budget, you would find out that not all your expenses are essential. You can consider those you can live without as a luxury that you can’t afford in the meantime. Items like cable bills, subscriptions, and other entertainment expenses can be given up while you’re still paying for your debts.
You can also make adjustments to other items. For instance, you can minimize or stop dining out or eating take-out food. Finding expenses to cut from your budget can help you have enough resources to pay your debts on time.
But more than cutting your expenses, it wouldn’t hurt to start considering whether or not your lifestyle is within your means. In doing so, you wouldn’t only be able to manage your current debts but your future finances as well.
Use Savings or Emergency Funds
Ideally, you are not supposed to utilize savings or emergency funds to pay off your debts. They must serve a specific purpose in your finances, and it’s better not to be reliant on them as much as possible. However, there might be instances that it would be hard for you to make debt payments on time.
If you have savings or emergency funds, it would be more practical to use them than to miss paying the debts that might charge you with high interests and late fees. But then again, don’t rely on them all the time, or else you would defeat their purpose. Remember that paying off your debts on time isn’t a financial emergency but an obligation you need to fulfill.
Consolidate Your Debts
Multiple debts can mean multiple fees and interest charges, which are really hard to manage at times. Another option to make your debts more manageable is to consolidate them into a single loan. Debt consolidation loans can be a good alternative to debt settlement as you would still be able to reduce your monthly payment over an extended period of time.
Because once you consolidate your debts, you only need to make one repayment instead of juggling multiple payments every month. Thus, it would enable you more to make regular payments on time.
Sometimes, financial resources might not be the cause of making late or missed payments. When you have multiple debts, there’s a chance that you might get tripped up by the calendar and miss a due date unintentionally. Even if you don’t intend to make late payments, you would still be charged with additional penalties.
To avoid such instances, it’s better that you make extra effort to organize your bills and make a schedule of paying them at least days ahead of the due date.
Make A Solid Commitment
Personal commitment plays an essential role in managing your debts without a late or missed payment. It’s easy to stray from your budget if you are not committed to making monthly payments on time. After all, it lies in your financial decisions to stay in control of your debts and finances in general.
If you think you’re not going to make it anymore despite tight budgeting, cutting costs, and other ways to stay committed to your debt obligations, contact your creditors immediately. They might have options to modify your payment plan that would make your debts more manageable. Don’t wait to make any or more defaults and missed payments.
Having multiple debts is indeed stressful. But it’s not impossible to manage them as long as you have discipline, commitment, and, of course, the right financial planning. The key is to stay on top of your finances and never take on more debt than you can afford.