You may be able to renegotiate the terms of your debt repayment on your own. Some creditors will agree to remove fees, lower interest rates temporarily or even forgive some portion of debt. Ask for their hardship program to understand what their standard interest rate would be.
Negotiating may be difficult since you will need to negotiate with each creditor separately. If they agree to forgive a portion of your debt, it will be reported to the credit bureaus, which will negatively affect your credit rating.
You will also need to set up individual automatic monthly payments and carefully monitor your accounts to ensure that your principal is going down. You should try to pay more than the minimum as much as possible to save on interest charges. In most cases, you should focus on paying your highest interest card first to obtain the biggest savings.
If you have multiple cards and have difficulty making all your payments on time, you may want to pay off some of the smaller balances first so you will have less cards to worry about. As you pay off each smaller balance, take the amount of that payment and apply it to the card with the highest interest rate.
Finally, and most importantly, you’ll need to establish a reasonable budget that you can stick to. By creating a workable budget (one that also accounts for emergencies in case you need home or car repairs) you can ensure that the monthly payments will go out on time and in full.
Budgeting can be difficult, especially when you’re already under the stress of debt. Here are a few helpful Q&A articles about how you can manage your debt and finances.
If you would like assistance with managing your debt, call to speak with one of our certified credit counselors.