If you’re swimming in a sea of debt and trying to figure out how to keep your head above the water, one of the easiest ways is to consolidate. However, the actual process of consolidation can be confusing and it is all too easy to make mistakes that will end up costing you both now, and in the long term. If you are ready to reduce your bad debt, here are some great debt consolidation tips to get you started.
1. Avoid paid services
We can’t stress enough that anyone who expects you to pay extra money to have your debts consolidated should be avoided at all costs. Many of these services are actually quite expensive and their results are quite low. There are numerous non-profit debt consolidation services out there that won’t charge you a dime to help you with your debt. These services are a much better solution and can actually be more effective at reducing your overall debt load.
2. Think before getting a consolidation loan
It’s natural to just go to your bank and sign up for a cash loan in order to pay off all of your debts. However, you’ll need to carefully read the terms of the loan and do a little thinking before jumping to this conclusion. Depending on the terms, you could end up spending more on interest and it may take you even longer to get out of debt. For example, the payments on a long term debt consolidation loan may be lower, but over time, you’ll be spending thousands extra on interest payments.
3. Read card transfer deals carefully
Another common solution for many when consolidating their debts is to simply transfer all of their high balances into one card. This is usually done during a zero percent interest offer. However, you will need to carefully read the terms on these offers before you take advantage of them. Many will have stipulations that transferred balances are not eligible for no interest, while others will increase your interest rate tenfold after six months. Always read the fine print and do some calculations to see if you really will be saving money.
When it comes to consolidating your debt, you’ve got to think long and hard about the choices you make. Yes, it is vital to pay off that bad debt and start freeing up your income so that it can work for you, but jumping to the wrong conclusion may have lasting consequences. Try to look at several avenues for debt consolidation before you jump and get the help of a trusted financial advisor to help you along the way.
If you are careful and practice smart debt consolidation techniques, chances are you’ll be able to pay off that debt in much less time and you’ll be saving money, now and in the future. Take the time to go through your options carefully and you’ll find that debt consolidation is much easier and much less expensive over the long term.