Having debts is of course very annoying and can also be very stressful. Everyone handles it differently. One person does everything in his power to get rid of it and the other puts his head in the sand to avoid confrontation. It often happens that people miss the overview of their income, expenses and debts. It is important that you get that overview back so that you know what the situation is and what actions you need to take. If you don’t succeed alone, you can get help in different ways. Here you can read what to do in the event of debts.
What can you do in the case of debts?
Of course it is a good start to first try to get everything straight. Write down on paper what your income is, what you spend and where you have all outstanding debts so that you get an overview. Be very honest with yourself and your possible partner. Are you structurally short of money? Then you figure out what that is about. Do you spend too much on things that you don’t actually need? Do you have many and unnecessarily expensive subscriptions? Have you lost a lot of money on smoking, for example? See what you can save on and whether you can get more income.
Tips for saving or getting more income
- Buy a smaller and more fuel-efficient car.
- Repair things instead of throwing them away.
- Delete unnecessary insurance or switch to something cheaper.
- Reduce your water, gas and light consumption. Energy-saving lamps, shorter showers, hanging up the laundry instead of using the dryer: all things you can save with. And they are also good for the environment.
- Take a critical look at your messages. Switch to private labels and eat more basic, instead of luxury things. Pin a fixed amount and spend no more than that. Many supermarkets nowadays have scanners that always display the total amount when you scan something. That way you won’t be confronted with surprises at the checkout.
- Investigate whether you can pay off some debts with a cheaper loan (possibly with family). Not ideal, but a lower interest rate is always better than a towering one.
- Try to work (temporarily) extra hours or take an extra part-time job.
- Put things up for sale. Do you want to use a fitness device that you do little with? Or other things that you can still earn something from? Place it in the marketplace, hang a note in the supermarket or sit at the flea market. All bits help.
- Do not buy everything new. Nowadays you can buy second-hand items in many places. Nice and cheap and sustainable too.
- Learn to say no. Shame often plays a major role. But always saying yes to nice outings when your friends ask you does not help to limit your expenses. Explain that it just won’t work. True friends will understand that.
Information and advice
It takes a little effort, but if you have an overview of your finances, then you usually see ingrained patterns and expenses that you could save enormously on. If you use the extra money released to pay off your debt (s), then these do not increase further with all interest. There is a lot of information on the internet that can help you. A handy tool to get everything in a row is the website www.zelfjeschuldenregeling.nl. Here you will find a step-by-step plan where you can fill in everything and work towards a solution. Or visit www.juridischloket.nl for advice about your debts.
Does not it work? Seek help!
What to do in the case of debts if you cannot solve it alone? Then a good solution is to start a process in debt counseling. On the internet you can find various agencies with volunteers that you can sign up for. Consider sites such as www.uitdeschulden.nu and www.nibud.nl. You can also turn to your municipality to make an appointment with a coach. The help offered is free. To qualify for this, you do not have to have huge debts first. You can also turn to smaller debts that are likely to increase in the long term. Prevention is better than cure of course.
Friendly debt assistance
If you proceed in this way, you will be in friendly debt counseling as it is called. Together with a supervisor or consultant you will map your financial situation. You will also enter into discussions with the creditors. It is examined whether cancellations are possible and, if not, whether payment arrangements can be made. It may be at the municipality that – sometimes voluntarily and sometimes not – you end up in budget management. A body then manages your money until your finances are back in order. It can also happen that the Municipal Credit Bank takes on your debts. You no longer have to deal with all separate creditors, but you only have 1 institution to repay.
What do you do if your creditors do not want to make payment arrangements and the amicable process does not succeed? In that case you can apply for the debt restructuring. This will involve a judge who will judge your situation. The WSNP is a 3-year process. It is determined for you what you should and should not do in the financial field. An administrator checks whether you stick to it. An estate account is opened to which you deposit as much money as possible in those three years to pay off debts. If you adhere to the set rules, the residual debts will be remitted after three years. So you don’t have to pay anything anymore and you can start again with a clean slate.
So what about debt? Take action!
Shame is often a high threshold so that help is sought too late. People play nice weather while the debts rise. As you have been able to read, there are always possibilities to solve them – with or without help. So put your shame aside and take action before it goes from bad to worse!