Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Use Goal Setting to Reduce Debt

Is goal setting a valid strategy to trim down debt? Personal financial debt can seem overwhelming on occasion. It can cause a good deal of frustration and stress in our lives. In fact, financial problems are among the leading causes of divorce in this country. Debt can also lead to poor health.

There is a way out of debt. It takes three steps. First, you must admit that you have too much debt. Next, you must commit to adopting the necessary actions to reduce your debt. Finally, you must use goal setting to establish a step-by-step plan to escape from debt.

The first step in goal setting for debt reduction is to analyze how much debt you have. Most people are not mindful of the total debt they face. This adds to your stress because ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. Most experts propose creating a chart or spreadsheet that lists all of your creditors and the total you owe. Also list the rate of interest for each debt. Then prioritize which creditors you should pay off first.

The next step in debt reduction goal setting is to ascertain the lowest payment each creditor will consent to. List that on the chart or spreadsheet. Keep in mind that if you only make the minimum payment monthly, your finance charges will eat up most, if not all, of your payment. There are a number of free debt reduction calculators accessible on the web. This will help you determine how much additional you need to pay. It will also help you with your goal setting efforts.

At this point, a lot of people feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of debt they may be facing. If you find yourself in this spot, you might want to think about a credit counseling or debt consolidation service. There are several good ones available. Check with you local Better Business Bureau and online to decide which is right for you.

In your goal setting and analysis, you may decide that you are not able to afford to make any increase in your current debt reduction payments. This isn't necessarily true. Review your present household budget and search for areas where small modifications can be made. Remember, it only takes a few dollars added to your monthly debt payments to make a difference.

Other goal setting suggestions for debt reduction are to reduce your expenses. Analyze your utility expenses. This is an area we have a little control. Also take a look at reducing your grocery spending. Buy only those items you genuinely need by avoiding impulse items. Shopping at wholesale warehouse club stores will usually save you money. Throw away your credit cards. Drastic but it works. Carry only one major credit card and use it only for emergencies.

Goal setting will help you stay motivated to reduce your debt. Place your chart or spreadsheet so that it is visible. Break your goals into small chunks. This will produce some easy wins. Record those wins on your chart. It's also important that you give yourself rewards for accomplishing those goals. This will help you stay motivated. Goal setting to reduce your debt can be enjoyable if it is approached with the right intent. Finally, statistics indicate that the majority of people who apply goal setting to reduce their debt are debt free in three to four years. In the scheme of things, that is a very short time.

Dick Ingersoll is an eternal student, and is fired up to share what he is learning with others. He has collected it all together for you at: Simple Goal Setting


Liane Schmidt said...

Great post!

Best wishes.


-Liane Schmidt.

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