Sometimes a mountain of debt grows faster than you would like. First bills flutter, then reminders on the table. Afterwards there are dunning fees – and you already owe a multiple of what you should originally have paid. A lot of trouble can usually be averted if you deal with it in good time.
Debt isn’t really that bad. However, they quickly cause problems if they are not paid for. It usually starts with ignoring reminder letters, not opening them anymore, not making contact with creditors. But it doesn’t help to bury your head in the sand. From here, everything will get worse if you don’t do anything. Even the businesses go in debt, and subsequently, they need a bankruptcy attorney according to chapter 7 bankruptcy to cope with this matter.
Regardless of whether you take the debt settlement into your own hands or seek advice: It all starts with putting things in order, getting an overview of the situation and making contact with everyone to whom you owe money.
Get an overview!
Take a heart and open all letters. Sort them. If that makes it easier for you, ask someone for help – maybe good friends or a counseling center. If you want advice anyway, call them and ask if you need the receipts for the initial interview or if you can bring them with you later. Then ask right away if someone there will help you sort it out.
- By creditor (i.e. the companies, banks or people who ask for money from you)
- Within the creditors by file number (AZ)
- Within the file number by date, the most recent document belongs to the top
It is best to take a ring binder with dividers, attach the dunning and enforcement notices directly to it.
Waiting only makes things worse
When everything is sorted, you see more clearly. Often there is relief: “I thought it was more!” But sometimes also: “But so much!” But the facts are then on the table – and the situation can begin to resolve. If nothing happens, it will get worse! Electricity, water and heating can be turned off. The bailiff comes. The apartment will be vacated. In the worst case scenario, you will become homeless or end up in custody in prison.
Whenever you are unsure, go to debt counseling. You can find addresses on the Internet. In most cities you will find Caritas debt counseling centers. The online counseling Caritas is particularly well suited as first aid in clear situations.
In addition, there are various advice centers that can help you cope with your life situation as a whole, if it has already escalated, for example. This includes outpatient residential care centers, general social counseling centers, social psychiatric services, possibly also your doctor, life counseling centers or the social welfare office.
Seven tips for saving, so that you have enough money
If you want to have your finances under control, you need a good overview. If you know exactly what is important, you can plan, save and treat yourself to something. Here you will find tips, ideas and hints for your financial strategy – from budget to energy saving check. Strategy instead of stress is the motto!
1. Keep your eyes open when buying furniture
Make a plan of how much money you will have for purchases such as furniture. If you can’t do without installments, it is important that you put the monthly charge for them in your budget. In many cities there are fair department stores where you can find well-preserved, used furniture at low prices. Also ask family members if someone has anything to give away. E-bay classifieds are also worthwhile, even if you organize and pay for the pickup with a van.
2. Throw out power guzzlers
Check if you have old appliances that use a lot of electricity, such as a fridge or freezer. In some cases, the new acquisition pays for itself after just a few months. Small electricity monsters are also devices in stand-by mode, halogen lights and much more. Heating and ventilation at the same time also devours energy and therefore money. Therefore, pay attention to your electricity and heating consumption. In many cities there is a free energy saving check. You can find all locations here. Or find out more from your local electricity provider.
3. Keep permanent costs low
Learn to distinguish between what must be and what is luxury. Cell phone contracts are available for less than $ 30 a month. A pet is wonderful – but it also costs money. What you spend on your leisure time is missing elsewhere. For example, some additional television offers are more expensive in the long run than they look! Make sure you understand the consequences of long-term contracts.
4. Allocate money
It often helps to think carefully about how much money you have available per day or week. (By the way, you can easily determine that with our interactive income-expenditure calculator.) Divide the money you have at your disposal into daily or weekly envelopes and only take the corresponding envelope with you. Leave the bank card at home. In this way you avoid spontaneous purchases that you actually cannot afford.
5. Not all childhood dreams come true
Anyone who has children always wants the best for them. Some quickly overshoot the mark. Above all, children need time and love. Some parents think they have to emphasize their care with expensive clothes and toys. But here it is important to pay attention to the right amount. Children also need to learn to be careful with money. Be a role model for them!
Any child support payments will help your child get off to a good start in life. That is why it is important to budget them and pay them regularly.
6. Check bank statements
Check your bank statements regularly and try to understand them. Print them out, file them by date, and really look at them. Then you can see quickly and in good time if something goes wrong and why. If in doubt, ask a debt counselor for help, even if no debts or no major debts have arisen. This way you can contain the danger as quickly as possible. Bring the excerpts with you to the interview.
7. Accept support
If money is very tight, you can get free vegetables and groceries from the food banks. In many cities, there are social department stores where you can shop very cheaply with your credit or credit cards. There are kitchens near you, some of them offer mobile services; avail of these services keeping your budget in mind.