Write down everything that you owe, even credit cards that might have only $100 on them. Don’t make the mistake of leaving those “small” bills out because “Oh, I’m going to pay that one off this month anyway.” Just write down everything you actually owe, as of today.
Many people have a rough idea about how much they owe their creditors. But there’s no substitute for having true, accurate numbers – not guesstimates. To fill in the proper figures on your written sheet, or your computer spreadsheet, you’ll have to go find your most recent statements and invoices from your creditors. Take as much time as you need today to collect all this data. It’s a crucial step in you getting your finances together.
It’s also a good idea to call the companies you owe and ask for the latest information about your debt, especially if you’re looking at statements that are more than a month old. Even if the statements are current, you should call your creditors because some of the information on those statements may have changed.
For instance, you may have charged additional items since the closing date on your credit card statement, so now your debt is actually greater than your current statement indicates. Also, you may have had a teaser rate or a lower interest rate in the past, and maybe that interest rate has now jumped. Whatever the case, you need to have the most accurate information that is currently available.
A Wake-Up Call: How Much I Owe?
The next step is for you to add up all your debts. For some of you, seeing your total debt in black and white may be a scary thing: a wake up call to how deeply you are in financial bondage. For others, seeing your total debt may offer relief: perhaps you don’t owe as much as you feared.
Whatever the situation, don’t panic. Remember, you’re on the path to financial freedom now and if your goal is to get to “Zero Debt” status, keep plugging along – it will happen, and sooner than you think!
I Debticate Myself to Being Debt-Free
If you need a little help to get your list of creditors down on paper, use this handy form on the next page that I’ve created, called “I Debticate Myself to Being Debt-Free.” It’s meant to give you an honest, black-and-white look at where you are today. Later, the form will also serve as an incentive when you’re slashing your debts, one at a time.