If you’re in debt, you’ve probably wondered why it’s so hard to pay it off even though you may have already calculated that you should have the money to get yourself out of it. If you still can’t pay your debt, you most likely have made these mistakes:
People with Debt Usually Don’t Negotiate
It’s surprising how many people don’t think to negotiate the terms of their debt repayment. People most often take for granted how much they can work around their debt by trying to negotiate. People don’t even try. You won’t realize how much stress you can be relieved off just by at least trying to push for your payment terms.
If you have credit card debt, for example, negotiation is one of the first things you should try. Start by calling up your credit card company and asking for a lower interest rate. It sounds simple, but lots of people never do this. Most probably, people simply don’t know that they can actually do this – maybe because they don’t have any idea that it is possible, or that they are too embarrassed to even try. Negotiation can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in unnecessary interest costs from tight terms.
Start off your negotiation attempt with a friendly phone call to the financial institution. In making a negotiation over the phone, always ensure you’re talking to the right person: ask the representative if they are able to work with interest rates.
Often, you are bound to be escalated to a supervisor, who has more power to help you. Then, always introduce yourself as a good customer. Detail your history with the company, especially the idea of being a good and able client. Next, state your case; tell the representative that your interest rate is too high, and you would like it lowered. Explain your financial situation and why this is important.
In negotiation calls, additionally, you have to mention that you are considering transferring your balance to a lower interest card or paying it off with a consolidation loan, and want to give them the chance to keep you as a customer. Credit card companies compete fiercely to get and keep customers, and the loss of your business is the most valuable negotiating leverage that you have.
A good example wherein negotiating could greatly help you is with healthcare payment. If you have medical costs and can pay a fraction of the amount up front (in cash), try negotiating for a lower payment. Most health providers agree with a relatively longer term if you can pay with cash right at the beginning.
You should also know that if you’re struggling to make payments, there may be help available if you ask for it. For example, federal student loans are eligible for the Income-Based Repayment plan, which can drastically lower your monthly payments. Also, there are times when companies allow for Individual Voluntary Arrangement or IVA; a company such as Creditfix – IVA can give you a formal and legally-binding agreement to pay back your debts over a period of time.
People Don’t Prioritize Paying Their Debts
If your goal is to get out of the burden of your debt, it is necessary to make it your #1 priority. If you make it your top priority, you would be surprised how much you can subconsciously work your way into completely paying it off.
Typically, other forms of luxury — like better food, new toys, more convenient way of commuting, among others — can get in the way of your debt payoff. As fun as it is to take a vacation or buy the latest tech gadget, these things slow down your debt repayment and may keep you in debt indefinitely.
You need to learn to do without these things and focus 100% on your debt if you want to pay it off as fast as possible. To help you keep your priorities straight, it’s always a good idea to rely on a budget. Remember, your budget should empower you to spend money on the things that are important to you. If becoming debt free is important, then you can make it a priority.
They Keep to Their Attitude
This can be one of the hardest mistakes to make and one of the hardest to learn from. Remember that your attitude that led you to make a debt in the first place is not the lifestyle that you should stick to. Having that “borrowing attitude” won’t help in paying off your personal debt.
The reason is that, innately, humans don’t like change. For the most part, they are comfortable with where they are right now. However, for those in debt, they have to change their attitude to change their outcome. They have to start thinking in a new way and change how they look at money. The best way to accomplish this is to proactively decide how they can incorporate new beliefs about their finances into their daily life.
To ease in the change in your attitude, overcome the “If only I had more money” attitude. Although it’s natural to want more money when you’re experiencing financial problems, it’s important to keep in mind that simply getting more money won’t solve your problems. You should also overcome the “I deserve a treat” attitude.
This attitude drives you to make impulsive purchases to reward yourself for hard work or give yourself some other emotional gratification, such as comfort or stress relief. Realize, though, that habitually buying things on impulse wastes lots of money as your small expenditures add up to large amounts. The money that you currently spend impulsively to splurge on little treats (from candy bars or cups of coffee to new outfits or gadgets) can help you save up toward more meaningful purchases that would add much more value to your life.
There’s also the “I’ll fake it ‘til I make it” attitude that you might have. This attitude leads you to buy things simply because they make you appear wealthy, rather than for their intrinsic value. Look for the subconscious confidence and the physical ability to overcome the psychological needs that may be fueling this behavior in your life; it maybe from wanting a personal sense of accomplishment through what you buy, or trying to impress other people socially through an image of wealth.
It could be helpful if you practice developing a contented attitude by regularly focusing on the good aspects of what you already have and diverting your thoughts away from what you don’t have. Ignore advertising as much as possible; instead, discern what you want for yourself, based on your own values.
Also, stand up against the pressure to make unhealthy financial choices. Look for the willpower that you need to resist spending money irresponsibly again. Whenever you’re tempted, ask yourself over and over again if you’re going to make a good decision or a bad one. Develop strategies to help you successfully manage your money well, such as closing every credit card except for one and paying mostly cash for other purchases.
Lastly, but most importantly, commit to the change. Don’t just change your attitude for a certain amount of time, but develop the character to stick to a much healthier attitude.