Getting out of debt can be tough, but these principles can help you get through it much easier.
1. Start with a plan.
Everyone’s debt load is different, so the plan you take may not be the same as your friend next door. The one thing you DO have in common is that you will both be on the path to become debt free if you start with a plan.
It’s good to start by listing out all the debt you owe. Sometimes school loans, hospital bills, and credit cards can add up and get lost in the shuffle. Take some time to list out all the debt you owe and then start prioritizing. Look at the due dates, total amounts due, and interest rates and make a goal to pay off the debt by certain dates. If you can organize your debt and create goals to pay off each item, you’re on the right track. You’ll also stay on track with your debts if you know how to make a budget.
2. Change your mind frame
How can you expect to stay out of debt if you don’t address the reason why you went into debt in the first place? Do you have too much credit available to you? Cut up a couple credit cards. Do you find yourself window-shopping every Friday? Slow down with the visits to the mall…you don’t need the added temptation.
This is probably the hardest of the four tips, but it’s crucial if you want to become free from the debt monster.
3. Become accountable
Uh-oh…the A word. Sometimes the best motivation for me to complete a task is when someone is counting on me to do it. The same is true for paying off your debt. By sharing your goals with a close friend or someone you trust, the pressure to meet the goals can be the very thing that keeps you on track with your debt-free goal. Sweeten the pot for the person keeping you accountable and promise to do something like mow their yard if you don’t meet the debt-payoff goal for the month!
One of the best ways that we can learn to live on less is to give a portion of our income away. Now, you might think I’m crazy for suggesting to give or to tithe while you’re trying to pay off a massive load of debt – but I think it can help us (especially with changing our mind frame). I’m not saying that you have to give away half of your income – the amount you give is up to you. In fact, the amount you give really doesn’t matter…it’s the principle of giving that really counts. I think that our mind frame can shift even through giving to others in the form of our time, volunteering, or just listening to others when they need an ear to vent.
What are some other principles you would suggest for those starting to get out of debt?