If you’re looking for some strategies on how to start living a debt free life, then you’ll love this article.
Debt is an unpleasant weight, a reason for unnecessary anxiety and is a trailing ghost. A pigeon approach to closed eyes and hoping the storm passes away doesn’t help. Unfortunately, most people are not taught how to handle money. But there is hope!
On a personal account, my family has been able to rein in our financial habits and take control of our future on a continuous basis. Here we lay a 10 step-pragmatic approach to staying debt free and enjoying financial freedom.
How To Start Living a Debt Free Life:
1. Pen all your debts on a paper
The solution to any problem starts with breaking down the problem and solving one step a time. Take a notebook and enlist all your debts, group them in categories; Credit card debts, fee loans, money borrowed from friends or car loans. Do not panic; focus on one debt at a time.
2. Snowball Your Debts
Snowballing is the categorization of debts by their interest rate or by the lowest amount. If the debt with highest interest rate is paid first, it can save you some money. A better way, in my opinion, is listing all debts from their lowest to highest amount. Snowballing calculators are widely available online to help you rank your debts on interest rate and let you know paying what debt will help you save some money. Make use of them!
Additionally, you can list all of your debts from smallest to greatest. Pay the lowest debt first, and then roll this money into the next sized debt. Once you start paying off your debt, you will see that the system works!
3. Make Realistic Timelines to Pay Debts
Make a realistic timeline to pay your debts one at a time. Keep your earning potential and expenditure in mind to not make an unrealistic timeline. Keep expectations as realistic as possible to avoid disappointment. This also helps setting small goals. Make the first goal to pay off your smallest debt first and add this to your calendar.
4. Keep Track of Your Timeline
Now that you have a timeline to pay your debts, you need to monitor yourself. You must stick to the timeline, keep your head high and start with the lowest amount of debt, pay one debt a time and be patient.
5. Cut Expenses
A debt free life demands sacrifice. If you want to ease up your debt burden, you need to list your expenses and make every possible cut on them. Every penny you save will help you earn financial freedom in long term. For example, if you are spending $200 a month on cable TV, there are many ways to find your favorite shows online.
6. Save for the Rainy Days
They say money speaks one language; save me today, I will save you tomorrow. The best practice to live debt free life is to make a rainy-day deposit account and not draw money out of it unless it is extremely necessary. Once you withdraw from it, make sure to make up for it on priority basis. A rainy-day account will be your best friend when something suddenly happens and demands your money.
7. Maximize Earnings
A little hard work pays significantly in tight situations. If you are fighting debts, it is necessary to utilize all available resources to maximize earnings. Apart from a regular job, polish a freelancing skill to make extra bucks. You can make use of available free tutorials to learn photo shopping, web development or any other skill to open a new source of earning. All the earnings from the new source should be channeled to paying debts.
8. Rein Your Temptations
Temptations lure us to buy more than we need or we can afford. Unless necessary, one should avoid the frequent use of credit cards. Every time we draw a little money and do not return the credit on time, debt eventually files up to an uneasy burden. PAY OFF THE CREDIT CARD AND STOP USING IT!
9. Live Within Your Means
Realizing one’s status and confining oneself to one’s means can bring the much needed balance between earnings and expenditures. There are people out in the world who can afford to drive expensive cars, wear expensive stuff, and live a very luxurious life. If you cannot afford that, you don’t need to go beyond your budget and burden yourself under debt. There is no harm in living a modest life.
Learning to live within one’s means is a key secret to a happy and debt free life. I highly recommend taking a moment to appreciate everything that you own today. Look at the items that you own as a tool to get you out of debt. For example, our cars are paid off and we can use that extra $600 that would have been paying towards our car loans, to paying off our debt.
Financial freedom demands a self-check and balance system. If you want to keep track of your expenses and budget; once a week you need to sit down and overview your weekly expenses. If you feel you have spent more than you earned, you need to balance the budget by cutting off expenses for next week.
This will instill a habit of self-accountability and change your unnecessary expenditure behavior. Don’t forget to give yourself reward once you learn to balance your budget. The key to financial freedom is responsibility, self-accountability and finding happiness and contentment within your means.
We all need help with finances on a continual basis. It’s ok to start with small steps to gain confidence in gaining a grasp on your finances. My wife and I were able to pay off 3 credit cards, both of our cars, and one student loan as of now. We still have two smaller loans to pay off, but we are aggressively paying them off every month because we are using all of the former payments and applying them to our smaller loan.
This easy to follow guide can give you peace at night and restore relationships, especially between families. There is nothing more that can tear people apart, than having financial resentment.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to start living a debt free life. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.