Have you recently fallen into debt? Are you at risk of foreclosing on your home? Debt can be a crushing thing to carry. It can affect all aspects of your life, and feel very debilitating. This list is just some of the many ways you can help yourself become debt free, and live up to your full potential!
1. Make A Plan
The first step to nearly anything is devising a plan. When it comes to getting out of debt, make sure you come up with a game plan and stick to it – don’t over spend or you’ll just be sliding backwards, and that’s no good. Cutting back on extra spending will be well worth your time in the end. “Growing Slower” is a great blog that you can use to help you achieve your goals., and structure yourself properly.
2. Decide To Stop Borrowing Money
This should be the first thing on your game plan, because making a conscious decision to stop borrowing money is one of the biggest keys to eliminating your debt. Don’t borrow money to get a new car, or buy that new flat-screen, or even borrow a few dollars from a coworker to buy lunch. It starts when you borrow too much money, and it should end with you being one hundred percent financially independent from everyone else (and that includes family members too).
3. Make More Than The Minimum Monthly Payment
Most people accumulate debt on their credit cards, and it’s very easy to overspend when the money isn’t directly in your hand. Consider paying a little more than the minimum monthly requirement when it comes time to pay the credit card bill. This may seem counterproductive, but making a dent – even if only a small one – in your overall debt can pay off over time. Just don’t put so much money into it that you end up without the proper funds to survive, or you’ll be back to borrowing money.
4. Pay Off The Largest Debt First
Interest is a killer! The higher the interest rate on the debt you have, the harder it is to pay of that debt off. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. The higher your interest rate is, the more money that goes into paying it off. By paying extra on the debt with high interest you will eliminate that interest payment from your debt burden. This will leave more money to go towards your principle. Sometimes your high interest debt can be moved to a lower interest format. Either roll the debt to another credit card with a lower interest rate, or sell something that will free up the cash to pay the high interest debt off. Craigslist, eBay or Facebook are all great ways to sell something quickly, and get yourself some quick cash.
5. Build An Emergency Buffer
If you’re in debt, chances are it gets easier and easier to fall back on a credit card or loan. This can be especially bad if you encounter an emergency payment or unforeseen fee, and you end up having to take out a loan to cover it. Consider building up a buffer of one thousand dollars in your bank account, and then don’t touch it again until a real emergency happens. It may not sound like much, but it can save you a lot of trouble in the future, and every dollar helps.
6. Create A Budget
Again, this falls in line with the first point of making a plan, but having a set-in-stone budget that you don’t waver from can really improve your chances of getting out and staying out. Set aside set amounts of money each month for money, rent, utilities, and maybe a small bit for little emergencies or last minute problems, but it may be wise to nix the leisure fund completely. Cancel rarely used magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, and limit the amount of times you eat out. You’ll be surprised at the amount of unnecessary fines you end up paying a month. Get creative with your budget, and you’ll reap the fruits of your labor.
7. Use The “Snowball” Method
The Snowball Effect is a very effective method to largely reduce the amount of debt you’re in. Basically, you list your debts from lowest to highest, paying off the lowest one first, and then working on the next largest one, to more quickly eliminate the amount of interest you incur each month. It frees up extra money for you to put toward your larger chunks of debt, so you can work toward becoming debt-free. You can read more about the Snowball Effect at “The Simple Dollar“.