You have the power to make a change in your financial situation.
Debt is difficult at any age. But when your earning power is beginning to diminish and you’re starting to think about retirement it can be a particularly challenging situation to be in. However, even if you’re over 50 and feel weighed down by your debt, there are some very easy ways that you can cut back and start to make a difference.
Start budgeting (or get better at it)
If you’re not budgeting then it’s highly likely that you’re wasting some of your income that you could be putting towards paying off any existing debts. Budgeting is easy to do and is often dismissed as too simple a solution to make a real difference to anyone’s finances. However, the reality is that regular budgeting will give you oversight on your finances and show you where you’re wasting money that you could be saving. If you’re constantly overspending or never quite on top of your money enough to stop relying on debt then creating regular budgets will be the first step to avoiding a poor credit score. That is definitely worth doing, otherwise you might be in an emergency situation and find loans for people with bad credit hard, or impossible, to come by, according to online broker Solution Loans.
Start walking more
Whether it’s petrol for the car or the cost of public transport, getting around can be expensive. Walking is great exercise and will also save you money on the (increasing) cost of fuel or on monthly travel cards. You could also consider getting a bicycle as a slightly faster alternative to being on foot.
Become a super frugal shopper
Single or in a couple, the chances are that you no longer have to think about food for a whole family, which gives you much more freedom about how you spend and eat. Start with an inventory of everything that you already have in the cupboard or fridge – throw out anything that’s out of date and then make sure you always check back before each shopping trip. It helps to make a list before you go to the supermarket, ideally based on meal plans. That way you’ll only buy what you need and will have money left over in your food budget that you can put towards clearing those debts.
Look for 0% on balance transfers
If your debts are on credit cards with high interest rates a good first step will be to find a card with a 0% offer on balance transfers. This will enable you to shift the debt to a new card that you can pay off without the additional cost of the interest. If you cannot obtain one of these then consider asking a family member to help out with a guarantor loan that has a lower interest rate than your credit card(s).
The little things help
You don’t have to make big, sweeping changes to cut back – sometimes it’s all the little things that add up to the most impressive results.
- Don’t buy your daily coffee – make it at home or work instead
- Cut down alcohol consumption – reduce this by half and see how much you save
- Have a vegetarian month – meat is high priced and probably making a hole in your budget
- Give up your gym membership – get a bike or take up jogging
- Buy some of your clothes second hand – ‘vintage’ stores often have much higher quality pieces and are significantly cheaper too
- Pay off your most expensive debt first – the quicker you clear the most expensive debt the less interest you’ll pay on it
- Find a new energy provider – switching will usually mean that you pay less