Common mistakes when managing debt

picWe all must at some point deal with our debt: the chances are we are not so lucky as to not require borrowing money, in order to invest in necessary expenses. Cars and homes are the two most common and most expensive items people acquire in their lifetimes – yet most are not able to pay the full amount for either. But in addition to these two tangible investments, we often find ourselves needing essentials – meaning we come to rely on credit cards or similar interventions to help bail us out.

The problem is that we still have to pay the money back: if not directly to the people we acquired the items from, then whatever lender we took the money from. Too often, we make small but cumulative errors that result in making our debt situation worse. It’s important to consider just how we can do better.

A good way to begin taking charge of your debt is to create a bill payment calendar. Presumably, before you took the loan in whatever form, you were able to demonstrate your ability to pay the debt back. This might might you just need to structure it properly. One way to do so is to use a debt payment calendar.

A free, easy way is to just use Google Calendar. As FreeFromBroke notes:

“I take my bill and log onto my [Google] account, go to the day I need to pay the bill by, and write in a reminder that gets emailed to me when it comes up.  Since my cell gets email it’s like an extra reminder since it’s on my phone and my computer!

I don’t have to always log into my calendar.  Some bills, like my mortgage or car payment, are due the same time of the month every month.  When I set the date up in Google Calendar so it repeats monthly.  Set it and forget it (well, until the bill is due).”

This is useful for all sorts of functions of course; but given that debt payment usually has a date attached, it means we can immediately add this information to software.

Aside from time management, people often resort to using funds from accounts in good standing to prevent others from worsening; this isn’t a good idea. This leaves you with two bad accounts, rather than one. While of course we’d love to be able to pay off our home loan, it might be wise to find a better way to do so then draw from accounts that we’ve maintained in good standing.

Time Magazine has further ideas that you could try – but primarily, a lot of issues could be mitigated by simply proper management.

Prinzo and Associates LLC is a tax firm located in Pittsburgh's South Hills. Since 1991 we have been helping clients with tax problems. We also help clients with retirement and other financial needs. If your business is in need of payroll, quickbooks or other financial assistance, we are here to help!

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