But think about it: What could you do with your money if you didn’t have a single debt payment in the world?
All that weight lifted off your shoulders. Saying goodbye to the never-ending payments. Enjoying your debt-free lifestyle to the fullest.
If you want to enjoy simple debt-free living, then you have to do these 10 things first. So let’s jump in.
Stop Borrowing Money
The first and most important step in getting out of debt is to stop borrowing money. No more swiping credit cards, no more loans, no more new debt.
Reshaping your attitude toward money and debt is the most fundamental change that has to happen. In order to avoid digging yourself into a bigger hole of debt, you have to understand the true cost of swiping a credit card and taking out new loans.
Resolve to live on a cash basis; it’s crucial to starting a new phase of life without taking on new debt.
Start a Budget
Your budget is one of your most powerful financial tools. Without it, you’re not seeing the spending leaks that are crippling your financial life.
So take a look at the recommended budgeting percentages:
- Housing: 25 – 30%
- Utilities: 5– 10%
- Food: 10– 15%
- Health: 5-10%
- Personal: 5– 10%
- Miscellaneous: 5-10%
- Entertainment- 5-10%
Savings and Debt -20%
- Retirement Saving: 10– 15%
- Insurance: 10– 25%
- Miscellaneous: 5-10%
It’s also important to include financial goals in your budget. Writing your goals down makes you 42% more likely to achieve them. After your debts are paid off, you can come up with more goals to save. Just remember to add them to your budget in writing to hold yourself accountable.
Drop expensive habits
If you’re in debt and consistently coming up short each month, evaluating your habits might be the best idea yet.
If your expensive habit is smoking or drinking, that’s an easy one — quit. Alcohol and tobacco do nothing for you except stand between you and your long-term goals. If your expensive habit is slightly less incendiary – like a daily latte, restaurant lunches during work hours, or fast food — the best plan of attack is usually cutting way down with the goal of eliminating these behaviors or replacing them with something less expensive.
Pay All Bills on Time (Keystone Habit)
Always pay bills on time, all the time. Why? Well, getting into debt is easy when we don’t take care of our obligations first.
Paying bills on time, or even early, also helps in other ways. For example, it helps you to avoid late fees, bank charges, and can even assist you in paying off debt earlier for example, such as when extra principle is paid towards a mortgage. As long as you get in the habit of paying bills on time, all the time, being debt-free moves from hope to an eventual reality.
Use the 48 Hour Rule - Curb impulse buying
“Let me think about it” is one of the best things you can say when it comes to your money.
When you hit the pause button for 48- hours it allows the rational side of your brain to kick in. This will give you time to shop around, and see if you can find a similar item at a cheaper price. This will also help you to learn how to stop impulse buying.
You start thinking of better ways to spend that money. Like getting out of debt or contributing to savings.
Learn to develop this habit, and watch as you slowly take control of your financial life.
Save for an Emergency Fund
You’ve got necessities you need to buy. But you should save money on the things you need. If you don’t prepare for emergencies, you can easily get hit with – and caught up in – even more debt.
According to a survey, 47% of people don’t even have enough money to cover a $400 emergency.
And what happens when you don’t have the money?
You have to borrow it. This makes debt a never-ending cycle. So protect yourself against new debt by building a safety net.
Pack your Lunch
Packing your lunch can help you to save money every single day that can be used to pay down your expenses. For example, if lunch costs you $10, $15, or even $20 per day with a beverage, that cost can balloon over time. At $15 per day, 5 days per week, 4 weeks per month, that’s $300 per month.
It’s hard for us to see how our small habits on a daily basis have a great impact on our lives when we don’t calculate the cost of something over the long term and not just the short term.
Use Cash as Much as Possible
Research shows that people who use cards waste 12%-18% more money than people who use cash.
Using cash creates a loss-type feeling in your mind. That feeling keeps you more accountable for your spending.
And the best part?
You can’t go into debt if you don’t borrow. So when you take exactly how much money you need with you, you won’t overspend because you simply can’t.
Give Up What You Don’t Need
Small expenses destroy your monthly budget. So take a look at the budget you’ve created, and see if you can:
Cancel unused gym memberships.
Get rid of the “free” trials that are so easy to forget to cancel.
Cancel unnecessary subscription box services.
Take the time to go through your receipts and credit card statements to figure out how to trim the extras.
Pick up a side hustle
With the holidays coming up, local retailers are on the lookout for flexible, seasonal workers who can keep their stores operational during the busy, festive season. If you’re willing and able, you could pick up one of these part-time jobs and earn some extra cash to use toward your debts.
The key is taking any extra money you earn and using it to pay off loans right away.
No matter what type of debt you’re in — whether it’s credit card debt, student loan debt, car loans, or something else — it’s important to know there is a way out. It may not happen overnight, but a debt-free future could be yours if you create a plan — and stick with it long enough.
No matter what that plan is, these strategies can help you get out of debt faster. And the faster you become debt-free, the quicker you can start living the life you truly want.