It’s the 25th of the month and, as usual, you’ve run out of money before you’re run out of month. Now what? You’ve still got 5 days left. 5 days where you need to put gas in your car, dinner on the table, and pay for the kids’ school lunches. Sound familiar? If so, it might be time for you to consider a debt management program.
But hold on a minute! A debt management program?! That’s pretty drastic isn’t it? Not really. Not if you answer yes to any of the following questions:
- Do you avoid answering the phone so you won’t have to talk to the bill collectors?
- Do you avoid answering the door so you won’t have to talk to your landlord?
- Are you parking your car in a different place every evening to avoid the repo man?
- Do you use one credit card to make the minimum payment on the other?
- Do you know exactly how many days it takes the mortgage company to deposit your check after you mail it?
- Do you eat a lot of Ramen noodles and Macaroni and Cheese during the last week of the month?
- Are all of your credit cards maxed out? And are you only making the minimum payments – when you actually make the payments.
A lot of people shy away from using a debt management program because they think it’s going to restrict them in their spending. But actually it’s just the opposite. Yes, you’re still going to have to pay your bills. However, a reputable program will negotiate and consolidate those payments. And they’ll work with you to make sure you can afford to make them every month.
How to Choose a Reputable Debt Management Program
You’ll find a debt management program on every corner these days but how do you know which one is right for you? Remember, they’re in business to make money – and they’re going to make it off of you – not your creditors.
Avoid companies that offer cookie cutter solutions. Your personal financial situation is unique to you, there is no one else who has exactly the same debt considerations that you have. Some of these companies have a package deal that they offer to everyone. The problem with that is, you might not need every service included in that package. So why should you have to pay for it? Look for a company who will offer only the solutions you need.
Look for a debt management program that takes into consideration your income to debt problems and your budget. They can negotiate with your creditors til the cows come home but if you still can’t cover the payment they come up with it’s not going to do you any good. And remember, you’re going to have to include their fee in your monthly payments.
A reputable company will treat you with respect and consideration and they will be attentive to your needs. They’ll answer your questions completely to make sure you understand everything that’s happening and they’ll discuss alternatives with you rather than offering you just one solution. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable during your initial consultation, then keep looking.
You Need to be Realistic and Committed
The biggest reason you’re considering debt management is because you can’t make all of your monthly bills. And using a debt management program to help you clear up your debt isn’t an over night solution. They may be able to negotiate down some of your debt. But they aren’t going to be able to make it completely disappear.
You need to know going into this that whatever solution you agree to you’re going to be required to stick to it – for the long haul. Maybe consider completing a devry university accounting program so that you have a better grasp on how to properly manage your money. Your creditors have agreed to accept lower payments or wipe out some of your debt. And they’ve agreed to stop harassing you as long as you stick to your part of the agreement. However, if you miss even that first payment, they have the right to come after their money or their property.
It’s going to take time and a lot of hard work to clean up your debt but using a debt management program is the best first step you can take. Just knowing that there’s an end in site – no matter how far out it is – will relieve a lot of your stress. And you’re really going to feel less restricted because now you can answer your door and your phone again.