The burden of debt is a like a plague. It leaves you broke and keeps you from getting ahead. There was a point in my life when I couldn’t handle my debt. It even made me turn down parties and family gatherings because I just didn’t have money to contribute or buy gifts.
And, I know there are many others who know what it’s like to be broke. Fortunately, it’s not a hopeless situation. And, if I managed to get out, you can too. All it takes is commitment, some enthusiasm and the willingness to change how you live. Lets take a look at some of the steps I took so you can take them too…
Step 1 – Think positive
As corny as it sounds, thinking positive works. Debt elimination is such a long-term process. Therefore, if you start letting negative thoughts get into your head, it will make you want to give up. Negative thoughts make you want what you don’t need. They make you feel better about yourself when you buy the latest flat screen TV or new Gucci cuff-links even though you’re spending money you don’t have.
This is a temporal situation. However, your attitude can make it permanent. So, instead of thinking negative, make extra cash – do some freelance work, sell some of your stuff or take in a housemate.
Step 2 – Pay off your highest interest debts first
Start by making a list of your debts. Include their minimum monthly payments, interest rates and total amount owed. It’s important that you know what your debt looks like. Pay off the credit cards and loans with the highest interest rate quicker. This is an important sacrifice you’ll have to make. Once it’s paid, get to the next one on the list and carry on like this until your debts are paid off. Also, make the minimum payments for each of your debts automatic, so you don’t even think about them.
Step 3 – Don’t get into more debt
If you’re trying to get out of a hole, you have to stop digging. So, stop using your credit cards for spending. When you’re paying off your debts, the last thing you should do is create more debt. Forget about get rich quick schemes. Be responsible and avoid taking out any new loans. You’ll start investing when most of your debts are paid.
Step 4 – Find free or cheaper entertainment
Entertainment is another expense that can pull you backwards especially if you have kids. So, instead of doing whatever you do for fun that costs money, find ways to have fun for free (or at least for cheap). Doing fun things at home, or going to the park or spending time with family or friends can all be a lot of fun without costing a lot of money.
If you hate your new lifestyle, you won’t last in it for very long. So, try to enjoy yourself, enjoy finding ways to save and reward yourself for eliminating debt.