Say goodbye to debt: Maximize your money, minimize your stress

By Maria Perez

Managing your money can be challenging, but it's possible to improve your financial future – whether that means avoiding new debt or paying down old debt. Here are some simple guidelines to get you started:

Get credit wise
If you're paying the minimum amount on credit cards with high interest rates, consider consolidating your debt into a personal loan with one monthly payment and a more reasonable interest rate. Find out if TD Bank has the right personal loan for you

Plan ahead
When you make room in your budget for upcoming expenses, you can save in advance. What's your savings goal? Check out our savings accounts and save even more with automatic transfers

Budget, budget, budget
Take a look at your current budget: are your wants outweighing your needs? A good place to start might be services like cable, phone and internet – are there ways to save by switching providers or cutting back on extra features?

Be a savvy shopper
Before you make a large purchase, do some homework. Look for deals and try to pay cash. If you're financing the purchase, be sure to read the terms, rates and payment amounts closely to avoid surprises. A good rule: If you don't need it, don't buy it – even if it’s on sale!

Unsubscribe
If your inbox is filling up with e-mails from retail stores and you can't resist the sales, just click unsubscribe instead of buy. Same goes for catalogs – taking yourself off mailing lists will help you avoid those mailbox impulse buys.

Evaluate your lifestyle
Are you living within your means? Check out your home, your car and your closet – is there room to save? This will also help you notice spending patterns, and just being aware will help you save.


What to do with your debt

Many Americans struggle with debt. Here are some tips to help get you back on track. For more information, read our article on achieving financial independence
  • Do the math
    Calculate your total debt and determine your monthly income and expenses. Create a budget that eliminates unnecessary spending, meets expenses and pays down debt
  • Develop a debt reduction plan
    Carefully analyze your spending habits and set realistic payment amounts and time frames for paying off your debt. A deadline often helps you stay on track
  • Review and adjust plans periodically
    When income and/or expenses change, adjust your budget and debt reduction plans accordingly. Use salary increases, bonuses and tax refunds to help pay down debt faster
  • Reward yourself
    Celebrate your progress toward financial independence with occasional small rewards like going out to dinner or upgrading an electronic device. Incentives help you stay motivated

Additional resources

Credit scores & reports interactive guide

Get information on your credit score, how it’s calculated and how to protect it

Information on how to cope with debt

The Federal Trade Commission provides information and resources on debt



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