10 Keys to Getting out of Debt That Work!
As with most things in life, having a plan is crucial to success with just about everything. The same is true with getting out of debt. As the old saying goes, “It’s a lot easier to wander into debt than wander out” because getting out of debt takes intentionality and intestinal fortitude. There are so many different ways to start climbing out of the debt hole. These were the 10 essential keys to getting out of debt that helped us along the way.
You can expect to make mistakes. We all do and no plan is ever perfect from the get go, but don’t let that scare you. Through trial and error and a lot of determination, you can do this. It’s going to take a change in your behavior AND it’s imperative that you take a good, hard look at the true cause of what got you here.
Only when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired, will you make that change.
Some get there quicker than others. When you reach your limit and finally feel that way, then follow a few simple steps and you’ll be on your way to a life you once only imagined…The life of being debt free!
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10 Keys to Getting Out of Debt!
Of all the keys to getting out of debt, this one is first for a reason. Let’s face it, if you don’t know where anything is, you’re never going to be able to honestly assess your situation. Therefore, you should have a dedicated spot to keep the bills as soon as you bring them in from the mailbox. Make it easy on yourself and also have a dedicated place where you can sit down and pay them.
When I bring them in, first thing I do is open them, write on the front of the envelope the amount and the day it’s due. I then place them in a dedicated drawer. As others follow, I do the same thing and file them according to due date. It’s so much easier to have everything in one spot.
Get/Save an Emergency Fund
This is crucial to getting AND staying out of debt. You may be wondering why this would be step 2 and asking how and why should you be saving for an emergency fund when you can barely make the monthly payments.
Well, let me tell you…Life will happen!! If the car battery dies, you blow a tire or someone gets sick, your first reaction is going to be to put that crisis on a credit card. Therefore, you dig yourself a little deeper into the debt hole. Don’t let this happen. An emergency fund is insurance against life’s little crisis.
I can’t stress this enough! You have to communicate with your significant other about your finances. Making a budget and working through your debt is almost impossible if you are on different pages as your spouse. You must be in total agreement about doing this as well as WHY you’re doing this.
Many times there are going to be disagreements about how you are going to do things and that’s ok. Everyone has an opinion. That is what you need to work through. But, in order to make a budget work, its going to take a commitment from both parties, to be able to implement and stick to it.
Related post: How To Get Your Spouse on the Same Financial Page
Lose your pride!
This may be a tough one for some. You have to be willing to accept what God says about money and debt. “The borrower is slave to the lender”. Your creditor becomes your master. Maybe that’s why it’s called Master-Card…haha!
Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’. They’re probably in deeper debt than you are. It’s just not that important to drive the latest, greatest car or carry designer purses, if you can’t afford it. No one really gives two hoots about what you drive or what you have hanging on your arm. Don’t put your future at stake to impress people that you really don’t know or care about. That’s all I’m saying.
Stay Away From Credit Cards!
There is absolutely NO positive side to using credit cards. It’s a proven fact that most people spend more when they pay with a credit card. Somehow, using this little piece of plastic dulls the pain of spending. “But I pay it off every month!” Well, good for you! Unfortunately, most people, though, do not do this.
The average balance most people carry is $8,000! Cut them up and get them out of your life!! Staying away from credit cards is one of the keys that are imperative to follow if you want to be debt free, for good! Nothing good will ever come from them!
Devise a plan and stick to it. Once you decide that your going to do this, be intentional! Get intense! Don’t let anyone or anything get in your way! Be willing to be a little weird among your piers. In today’s society, normal is being in debt. Break away from this mantra and stop being normal.
Learn to be Frugal
Frugal should not be a bad word. Frugality simply means being careful in the use of one’s money or resources. To me, being frugal means to stop spending money on things that we don’t need. By the same token, living frugally also means to not be wasteful and to live simply.
When you decide to live a frugal life, you learn quickly, the difference between a want and a need. As consumers, we are bombarded constantly with media telling us what we need. Falling prey to this can be extremely damaging to our finances. Avoid it at all cost if you can.
Budget, Budget, Budget!
The budget is one of the most important keys to getting out of debt, because without one, you’re finances are doomed to fail. This is the road map that is going to get you to your destination of freedom from debt. Devise a plan, implement it, stick to it and follow through. One main part budgeting is know where your money is going. Once you track your expenses to figure this out, you have a much clearer picture of what expenses you can begin cutting. This will also be one of the main keys to getting out of debt.
If you haven’t done a budget before or it’s been a while since you’ve had one, it will be eye opening. You may even feel like you’ve gotten a raise.
Related post: 8 Simple Steps for Setting Up a Budget The Easy Way!
Increase your income
When you are trying to implement and expedite debt reduction, it may be necessary to increase your income, even if it’s temporary. Here are some ways, to name a few:
- Sell stuff on Craigslist, Ebay, garage sales or Facebook Marketplace.
- Take on a part time job.
- Deliver pizzas.
- Open an Etsy store.
- Clean houses
- Dog walker/sitter
- Mow yards/landscape
These are just a few ideas, but there’s so many options…especially now! Many businesses are hiring and are finding it hard to fill the openings. The opportunities are out there.
I put this last because without focus, none of the other keys will matter. Keep your goal out in front of you and focus on how your life will change if you don’t have a payment in the world. You can work when and where you want, you can work less, you can travel, you can do pretty much anything you please when you aren’t a slave to the lenders.
Most importantly, focus on how you will feel physically. To be out from under the stress of wondering where your paycheck went!
If this is too overwhelming to think about, ask yourself this age old question. “How does one eat an elephant?” Answer…”One bite at a time!” Getting out of debt is not easy. The main thing is to just do it! It will get easier and easier if you stay focused and remember the reason you are doing this. Sure! You will have to make some sacrifices and it will take some time, but in the end, anything worth having is worth waiting for!
What are some ways that you have found to stay focused? Have you began to implement any of these important keys to help you get out of debt? Let me know in the comments how you’re doing on your debt reduction journey.
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