Muncie household debt is on the rise due to inflation
Here are 4 steps to help pay down debt.
In the past two decades, Muncie residents have learned how to handle economic down turns. Toward the end of the 20th century many families were forced to transition down from middle-to-high income families, due to the lack of industry. Muncie residents were resilient and learned how to control spending while moving toward a service sector. However, inflation is rising at an alarming rate and Delaware county families are feeling the added pressures of fuel, groceries, and utilities.
According to “The Center for Macroeconomics Data”; organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (https://www.newyorkfed.org/microeconomics/hhdc), household debt has reached 16.5 million dollars and is growing at an alarming rate in comparison to the patter of the past two decades. Many economic advisors feel inflation has peaked, which is good news. However, many Delaware County residents are struggling to maintain their expected quality of living.
While the costs are rising rapidly on everyday goods and service, there are a few things you can do to bring down your debt. The hardest part is taking the first step and figuring out where you are. After that the debt snowball starts to move downhill and gain momentum. Good luck and remember as a PrimeTrust member, we have tools and consulting to help you along the way that are completely free to you (www.greenpath.com).
Here are four easy steps to help you get started on your own debt payment journey today.
1. List out all your debts with their interest
Step one to paying down your debt is to write it down so you have a complete understanding of who, what, and how much you owe. Write down every bill you have, the total amount you have left to pay, and the interest accrued and structure of the loan
Don’t forget to include long-term debt, like student loans. Yes, even though they are currently deferred now is a good time to work through them to avoid interest payments. I recommend organizing them by monthly payment size. Don’t forget about cell phones, car loans, mortgages, and even non-institution loans to friends and family. While these loans rarely gather interest, they are likely the ones that receive the highest, and fast payback, and you need to know this to make a payback plan.
2. Determine which method works best for you
The debt snowball method
The debt snowball method focuses on the smallest debts first. This will give you a firm sense of accomplishment as you gain momentum to work on the larger debts. Each time you payoff an old debt with a large balance you will want to keep moving forward.
The debt avalanche method
The debt avalanche method is a logical approach to debt payoff with a focus on mathematics. The goal of the debt avalanche method is to minimize the final cost of debt and interest. Unlike the the debt snowball method, this method focuses on the interest rate of the debt and maintains all the other debts while spending a majority of the debt payoff funds on the debt with the highest interest rate. In the unlikely case that your largest debt is also the one with the highest interest, it make take years to see your debt results, but when you do, they will all go down at once.
This method is the most common and takes the least amount of effort psychologically and mathematically. This process takes your list of loans and breaks them into different groups. You can pay the entire group down together or you can work with a lending institution like PrimeTrust to see if the interest rate we offer would be better for you.
Again, I want to take the time and take a shameless plug for GreenPath (www.greenpath.com). Greenpath is a financial consulting company that we (PrimeTrust) pay for as a service to our members. This service is an expensive service and many credit unions in our area do not provide this service free of charge. We; PrimeTrust, provide this service because it aligns with our strategic goal of providing our members, “Financial Advantage.”
3. Spend Less
I know, I know! This is easier said than done. While this is step three, this is the most important step in debt payoff. You MUST spend less than you make to payoff debt.
In order to decrease spending, you must take a deep look into your spending habits. First, start with a budget of necessities and find a place to whittle a few dollars out of that budget. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your cell phone and cell phone bill are as low as they can be. When I was a teenager, I didn’t have internet or a cell phone. While they may seem like necessities, they also can be looked at. You’re going to have to change something, maybe a little change can go a long way.
Finally, take a look at your entertainment and meals budget. I’m not saying you need to eliminate fun altogether, but at least realize how much this “fun” is costing you on a monthly basis. I recently looked into my own spending and realized I was spending way more on “TouchTunes”; a digital jukebox than I had thought I was. Does this means I quit using TouchTunes altogether? No. However, I did cut my TouchTunes spending 75% by realizing it was a big spending habit!
4. Make More
Speaking of technology, now it’s easier than ever to find a side-hustle. Whether it’s running down other people’s food choices, or selling things on Etsy. Making a few extra dollars is simply a click or two away. This is not a permanent solution, but it’s a good way to pay off some debt to relax and enjoy your life.
Another way to make more money is to look for a promotion or ask for a raise. To compete on the labor market many employers are looking to incentivize their employees. I’m telling you to leverage your hard work, but simply make it known that you are trying hard to pay down debt and youre looking for options. Many employers will recognize your hard work and understand the market is changing and they too, will need to compete to on top of their game. I recommend asking for wage in a professional, generous way and be prepared to work hard for it.
In the End
When you’re dealing with a large amount of debt, becoming debt-free can seem impossible. But with the right plan, method and PrimeTrust tools (greenpath.com), it’s achievable.