The pandemic has hit everyone in the country very hard, and millions of people have had to make sacrifices they never dreamed of. Unfortunately for those in Florida, the crisis has hit particularly hard. A recent study has shown that Florida ranks fifth in the country for the most residents that have suffered financial harm as a result of COVID-19.
It does not seem as though the virus is going anywhere anytime soon and, due to this, people are likely going to experience even more hardship, particularly here in Florida. One way Floridians can help prevent the negative impacts of the pandemic is to get out of debt as soon as possible before any debt collectors start legal action. That may sound impossible at a time when people are cash-strapped, but it is not. Below are some tips that can help you get out of debt, avoid legal action, and get the burden of that debt off of your shoulders once and for all.
Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report
You may think that you know all of the debt you owe, but you may have forgotten about debt incurred long ago. Truthfully, if you do not know where you stand with your debt entirely, you can never properly address it. Contact at least one of the major credit reporting bureaus, such as Equifax or TransUnion, and obtain a copy of your credit report. The report will list all of the debt you still owe so you can start tackling it.
Stop Using Credit Cards
If you are like most Floridians, you have leaned on your credit cards more than ever during the pandemic. The time to stop doing that, though, is now. The more you spend on your credit cards, the higher your balance climbs. If you must use your card, try to avoid costlier transactions, such as cash advances. The interest on these transactions starts accumulating right away, so you will pay much more on it in the end.
Pay as Much as You Can Afford Every Month
Your first priority should always be to create an emergency fund. Once you have a little bit of money set aside, you should then use any disposable income you have to pay down as much of your debt as possible. Of course, the more you pay, the faster you will pay off your debt and the sooner you will be free of your obligations.
Looking at the little expenses you incur will help you better understand where you can save money so you can pay off more every month. For example, if you collected coupons and used them at the grocery store, use the savings you incurred towards your debt.
Cut Your Spending
The most obvious way to get out of debt as soon as possible is to cut your spending. Of course, most people find this much easier said than done. However, if you can find the little areas in which you are spending money unnecessarily, it is possible. If you regularly get coffee on your way to work or eat out at lunch, start making your own meals and watch the savings add up. If you cannot easily identify the expenses that you can cut, create a budget, including everything you spend in a day. Once you have it all on paper, you will be able to look at it and see the areas where you can cut.
Switch Your Payments
Paying off a credit card is something that you should feel very proud of. However, now is not the time to sit back and start spending. If you still have credit cards, take the payments you were paying on the credit card that is now paid off, and put them on another credit card. This will help you pay off that credit card faster and soon, you will not have any debt on any of your cards.
Do Not Splurge with Your Windfalls
You may find there are times in your life when you receive a windfall. Perhaps you will receive a significant inheritance, or maybe you got a tax refund. It is tempting to use that money on a vacation or something nice for yourself, but resist the temptation. Use that money to pay down your debt instead and you will feel much better about it in the end.
Freelance to Earn Extra Income
The Internet is a great place to make money these days, and many websites are dedicated to helping freelancers network and find extra income. Perform a Google search for whatever you are skilled at, such as web design, graphic design, or content writing, and you will find a whole list of websites ready to connect you with your next job that will help you get out of debt as soon as possible.
Pay Off Debts with the Highest Interest Rate First
Many people like the snowball method of paying off debt. With this method, you actually pay off the debt with the lowest interest rates first so you build momentum and get excited about paying off more debt. Generally speaking, it makes more sense to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, so the interest does not accumulate and you do not end up paying more on what you borrowed in the first place.
Paying off debt is important, and it is also incredibly difficult. At times, it may become depressing, but do not let it get you down. Once in awhile, treat yourself to something nice, and that you can afford without spending on your credit card, and congratulate yourself on the job well done.
Has a Debt Collector Taken Action? Call Our Florida Debt Defense Lawyers
Sometimes, people try to pay off their debt as quickly as possible, but a debt collector still takes action. If this has happened to you, our Fort Lauderdale debt defense attorneys at Loan Lawyers are here to help. We know the defenses available in these cases and we will use them to give you the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at (954) 807-1361 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation so we can review your case.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation and find out more about our money back guarantee on credit card debt buyer lawsuits, and how we may be able to help you.