Many people struggle to get out of debt, but they can start by making smarter spending decisions and living within their means. It is not a simple process and takes a concerted effort along with time, but it is worth it in the long-term.

Likewise, many of those who are struggling to get out of debt often do not know how much they owe and where to start in paying off these. While it seems like there is always more they have to pay than what their balance shows on their credit card, this is not the case. There are many factors that can contribute to a large balance, and understanding them is important when it is time to pay off the debt. The best place to start is to seek information on how each credit agreement works. Read through your original agreements to understand the terms and conditions of each. Once you know your obligations and rights, move on to the next step.


Determine how much money you owe. Make a list of the creditors and the amounts you owe to each. Note the principal amount for each and the interest you pay monthly. Now group the creditors according to the types of credit and note the principal amount, how many instalments are left, what you have already paid, and interest that you pay. Finally, determine the outstanding amount. Also note whether it is a secured or unsecured debt. The latter is one in which you did not put up any security for the loan or credit.


Pay off more than the minimum amount on each monthly. This is possible if you cut on living expenses:

  • If you have cell phone contracts, enquire when you can upgrade. If your contracts are due for upgrade, use the opportunity to move to prepaid.
  • Cancel subscriptions where possible.
  • Enquire from your medical aid whether you can go on a cheaper plan.
  • Ask your child’s school if you can go on the subsidy plan.
  • Have a look at your insurance policies. Strip down to the bare minimum on these for the most basic cover.
  • Join an office carpool to share fuel expenses.
  • Use all the money from these savings to pay extra to the high interest creditors to get the amounts down.
  • Refrain from using store cards and credit cards until you have won the battle.


Where should you start if you have already done these, but still face judgments? Do not delay in seeking legal help. You can have up to 80% of the amounts you owe written off through voluntary sequestration. Complete our free online voluntary sequestration assessment form to determine if you qualify. Also read our FAQ section for answers about sequestration. Get your documents together to apply for voluntary sequestration once you have all the information to make a decision.

Need immediate advice? Then seek legal help from our insolvency attorneys on where to start if you want to get out of debt through voluntary sequestration.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing.