Perhaps the most common mistake among those currently facing debt problems is the stage at which they began to consider debt management. It may seem a little counter intuitive but it’s not smarter debt management if it only starts once you’re in financial strife. This is a little like shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted. Be debt savvy and get in the know before you owe.

Smarter debt management comes with advanced financial planning. Sit down with a calculator and work out a budget, taking into account all of your outgoings, your monthly earnings and the amount you can afford to repay. You want to manage your debt in such a way that ensures you’ll have credit available to you whenever you need it.

  1. Know your budget. Manage your income and keep a close eye on your outgoings. This will give you a good idea of how much you can afford to pay back each month and help you to ensure smarter debt management.
  2. Shop around for a good deal. You should really think about borrowing as you would shop for any other product or service. So shop smart, make comparisons and see what kind of rates are on offer.
  3. Don’t get suckered in by the large print. As clever, astute shoppers, we all know that there can be hidden costs in the small print. However, phrases like “0% Interest!” and “No Money Down!” are designed to draw you in but can have a sting in the tail. Beware of hidden fees or exorbitant penalties or late payment charges.
  4. Don’t just hand control of your repayment schedule over to your lender. Even though you’ll be grateful of the credit, stick up for yourself and be sure to come to an agreement that works for all parties. Smarter debt management relies on you taking control of the situation.
  5. There is no shortage of debt advice out there, some a lot better than others, so use your brain! Find out as much as you can and see what makes sense to you. Don’t be shy about checking with the experts either. It is worth remembering though, just because someone has written a book, or has a debt-related web site, doesn’t actually make them an expert on smarter debt management. As a savvy debt shopper, look for the right credentials. Talk to a specialist like Harrington Brooks.