New year, new fiscally responsible you – 10 tips to pay off debt in 2022
Wyandotte, Mich. – December 1, 2021 – It’s a time-honored tradition: making new year’s resolutions to get out of debt and save more money in the year ahead. Michigan Legacy Credit Union (MLCU) President and CEO Carma Peters, who once found her family climbing out of debt after a job loss and the Great Recession, speaks from experience when offering advice on how to move forward on solid financial footing.
“If COVID has taught us anything, it is that your life can change in a moment’s notice. Eliminating debt and having savings to fall back on can mean the difference between barely surviving and thriving – or at least comfortably weathering the storm,” Peters said.
Here are 10 actionable tips from Peters to get you on track for saving money and managing debt:
- Start a budget or financial journal. Spend the time to make a budget or document in a note book your income and expenses. Once you get in the habit it will help know where to make adjustments and you will find ways to save some of the money you do not even see being spent now.
- Cash is king: Stop using your credit card and start paying cash when possible to keep a close eye on your spending.
- Mind over matter: If you need a psychological win, pay off the smallest balance first to feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Be efficient in your payments: If you can skip the satisfaction of a psychological win, concentrate on paying off the highest interest rate debt first, as it is the one most negatively affecting your budget.
- Be aware of the minimum payment warning box: This box will tell you how long, as well as how much, it will take if you make no additional purchases and pay the minimum payment. For example, it will take you 16 months and a total of $444 just to repay a $288.64 charge by making a minimum payment of $29 at a 26.99% simple interest rate.
- Conquer student loan debt: This is the debt that affects personal budgets the most. It can be the biggest enemy because of the duration of the repayment, not necessarily the interest rate. To help plan repayment, find an online financial calculator and enter the total amount of student loan debt, the interest rate and the payment, and it will calculate the time and total cost of paying it off.
- Consider refinancing: Some financial gurus may not look at refinancing as a good idea, but if you can lower that rate and find a financial partner that will understand your goals and hold you accountable, it can help you to go from a 26% or higher credit card to a smaller unsecured rate loan.
- Be patient: You likely didn’t get in your financial position overnight and you will not get out of it overnight. It will take time, sacrifice, hard work and focus, but it can be done.
- Start saving small: If you are not a saver, put $10 per paycheck in an account with no access to an ATM or home banking, so you must drive to physically withdraw it. Every time you can increase the contribution amount, it will add up over time, and you will have created your emergency fund.
- Change is hard: Most people never change their habits, so it takes a true desire to get to a different outcome. You must be so discouraged by where you are that you want something different for the rest of your life.
“Following even one of these tips to start out the new year can make an immediate impact on an individual’s financial savings and outlook for the rest of the year. Plus, it can help build better personal finance strategies for years to come,” Peters encouraged. “Choosing to change your unhealthy financial habits can be just like a new year’s resolution to exercise – start with one right decision every day.”
About Michigan Legacy Credit Union
Michigan Legacy Credit Union (MLCU) is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative serving members who live, work, worship, attend school, or own a business in the state of Michigan. Michigan Legacy Credit Union is committed to providing quality financial services at a competitive price, delivered professionally and efficiently while keeping member/owners and their needs first. For additional information on MLCU, visit: www.michiganlegacycu.org.