In order to successfully navigate through these risky economic times, it’s essential to manage your loans properly to ensure the safety of your financial future through debt management. By paying close attention, keeping track of your finances, and managing existing debt, you’ll be in the best shape possible to weather the financial storm.

Although times are financially difficult, it is still possible to establish fiscal security. Your goal should not only be to pay down existing debt, but to save for future hard times as well. To do so, take control of your finances through debt management.

Managing your loans doesn’t have to be as much of a daunting task as it might sound. There are countless companies, programs, and organizations out there that strive to help people clear their debt. Regardless of what path you choose, these four steps will help you stay on track and stay motivated.

1. Gather all of your finances together. When multiple bills come in every month, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. Gather all of your bills into one pile once they have all arrived and place them somewhere easily accessible, in plain site, but secure enough not to loose them. When you have to walk by credit card bills and other monthly expenses multiple times each day, it’s an easy reminder to stay focused.

2. Once you’ve collected all of your expenses and have double checked that you haven’t left any thing out, begin to prioritize. Prioritizing debt is one of the most important steps to manage your loans. Separate bills into monthly living essentials and other expenses. Things like water, electricity, car payments, and the mortgage, are all things that should be paid first. Make sure you aren’t tempted to trick yourself into thinking frivolous expenses like cable or an expensive gym membership are monthly necessities when your finances can’t cover them.
After you’ve paid these monthly necessities, it’s time to prioritize and manage the remaining loans. To do this, order them from highest to lowest interest rates and pay off the debt with the highest interest. This typically means getting rid of credit card debt first.

3. Although it might seem like it, not all of your monthly income will go to managing debt. However, the remaining money must be budgeted and put into a spending plan. Study your other non-essential monthly expenses and keep track of everything you spend and of  course, don’t forget to save!

4. When money and bills do come in, remember to pay your expenses as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more money and credit you loose. In order to successfully manage your loans and debt, you must respond to every bill in the shortest amount of time possible.