How to do your own Debt Consolidation
These days, many of us find ourselves in much more debt than we had anticipated. But it’s not only the amount of the debt, it’s also the number of companies to whom we are obligated. You may have several maxed out credit cards, a home mortgage, student loans, car payments, and more.
If this is you, you may have searched the internet for debt consolidation loans to see how you might be able to consolidate your debt into one easier to manage, and hopefully lower interest rate, loan. You’ve seen the search results, there is a seemingly endless list of companies offering to provide debt relief with debt consolidation loans.
Some of these companies are there to help, but many are there to help themselves. Do check with some to see what they have to offer. But you can also try to consolidate your debts on your own.
Overall, the goal is to lower your payments and/or lower the total amount of your debt. Let’s get started.
Take inventory of your debt
Make a list of all of your loans, including the payee, the interest rate, the remaining loan amount, the monthly payment, and the number of remaining payments.
Zero in on the loans that have the highest interest rates. These are the ones you want to replace with lower interest rate loans. These are likely your credit cards; God forbid any our payday loans.
Credit card balance transfer
If you have a credit card with some unused, remaining credit limit and a low balance transfer interest-rate, you can move balances from high interest rate credit cards to this card. If you don’t have an available credit card with which to do this, shop online to see if you can find a new credit card with a low balance transfer interest rate. If you are able to do this, call up the now emptied out credit card company and cancel the card.
Checking account overdraft protection
If your checking account provides overdraft protection, it can act as a credit line for you. But you must first check the interest-rate and fees. You might find that it is lower than your worst loan’s interest rate. If this is the case simply write a check and pay down or pay off the offending loan.
Home equity line of credit or home equity loan
If you’re lucky enough to have equity in your home, you may be able to obtain a home-equity loan or home equity line of credit. Either one will provide interest rates vastly lower than the rates on credit cards and other unsecured loans. Keep up with the news on home mortgages, as the government is now providing programs that may help.
Borrow on a whole life insurance policy
While we don’t recommend buying whole life insurance, if you do have such a policy you may be able to borrow from it at low interest rates. Take advantage of the opportunity if it’s offered. But keep in mind that if you don’t pay it back, your beneficiaries lost its death benefit.
Negotiate better terms
It’s simple, just call your credit card, mortgage company or other lender and talk to them about renegotiating the loan. It works more often than you might believe. And we hate to tell you this, but if your credit is already ruined anyway (and only if this is the case), miss a payment of too — if they think you are really in trouble, they are more apt to work with you.
Debt consolidation loan
Banks and debt consolidation companies can provide you with one single loan, which will pay off all or most of your other loans. Obtaining a debt consolidation loan from a bank is preferable to getting one from one of the many debt consolidation companies you find online. While the online debt consolidation company may be completely legit, your chances are better with a bank you can walk into.
Borrow from retirement
As a last resort, you can take a look at borrowing from your retirement plan. But be forewarned, the penalties can be extreme, and may very well be more expensive then the debt you’re trying to pay off. But not always, so ask the holder of your retirement account for details.
The real way to get out of debt
You knew this was coming: the sermon. The real way to get out of debt is to change your monetary habits. You need to make a budget and stick to it. You have to forgo many of the pleasures you were able to enjoy when your situation was not out of hand. Simply put, spend less than you make. But to be fair, we know that times are tough, jobs are few, costs are high, and things may have simply spiraled out of control due to no fault of your own.