Almost all of us have debt. We all want to get rid of that debt. The task of doing so can seem overwhelming, can’t it? However, debt elimination really involves taking a lot of simple steps. Here are 25 basic steps to getting rid of your debt once and for all.
1. Consolidate. If you have credit card debts and loans in several places a good start would be to consolidate them and reduce the interest you are paying. Lower interest means more of your payments will go towards the principle and you’ll be out of debt faster. Using Peer-to-Peer lending is a good option if you have a decent credit score (630+), I recommend using Prosper as they are one of the biggest lenders and you often get better terms.
2. Track spending. You have to know where your money is going if you want to be in control of it.
3. Make a list of all of the debt owed. Include who you owe, what amount you owe, what interest rate you’re paying and what your monthly minimum payment is. Keep a physical copy of this list where you can see it.
4. Create a budget. It’s the only way to be responsible enough with your money to pay off debt.
5. Always spend less than you earn. It’s simple math; it frees up the money you need to pay off your debt.
6. Cut back to one credit card. And use it as little as possible. Accruing more debt is going to hinder your debt elimination plan.
7. Choose one debt and pay it off. Ideally, you’ll pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. However, you may also choose to pay off the smallest debt. This gives you a sense of accomplishment and provides momentum for sticking with your debt repayment plan.
8. Give up five costly things and use that money to pay off your debt. These don’t have to be high-cost things. If you give up your cigarette habit, your Netflix subscription, your gym membership, your afternoon latte and your cab ride home at night then you’ll have a lot of extra money going to pay down your debt every month.
9. Ask yourself what big expenses you can give up. Can you reduce your mortgage by renting out a room i your house? Can you go from a two-car family down to one car? Use any savings to pay off debt.
10. Talk to your kids about why debt is bad. It will remind you … and they’ll remind you too!
11. Make a list of all of the reasons you want to be debt-free. It will keep you on track.
12. Make long-term and short-term debt payment goals. Goals help you achieve what you want. Make sure that the goals are realistic.
13. Choose a debt elimination buddy. It may be a spouse, a friend or a family member who also has debt payment goals. Meet with this person once a week to discuss your goals and achievements. Keep each other on track.
14. Read books and blogs about debt elimination. This helps you to stay inspired.
15. Give up shopping for fun. Shop only for necessities until your debt is paid off.
16. Delay all purchases by one month. This helps to make sure that you’re only buying what you truly need. If you don’t still need it a month after you wanted it then you never needed it at all.
17. Eat your veggies. Eat fresh in-season produce instead of packaged foods or meats and put the money that you save towards paying off your debt.
18. Refuse to watch or read advertisements. They encourage you to buy things you don’t need!
19. Create fun challenges for saving money. Get your creative self out and challenge her at every turn.
20. Put any extra money towards paying off the debt. Get a bonus at work or a surprise windfall from a relative who passes away? Immediately use it to pay off debt instead of doing anything else with it.
21. Refuse to keep up with the Joneses. Make it a way of life to NOT compare yourself to others financially or based on status symbols.
22. Make a written commitment to yourself to pay off your debt. You don’t want to be wishy-washy about this process.
23. Make a verbal commitment to someone else about this goal. Let a spouse, a child or a good friend know that it’s really important to you to pay off this debt. Telling someone else will help to hold you accountable to sticking with it.
24. Forgive yourself if you make a mistake. Debt plans can be like diets. Some people eat one piece of candy and decide that the diet isn’t working so they quit trying all together. Others admit that they’ve made a mistake and recommit to the diet. Recommit to your debt and don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake in your repayment plan.
25. Deal with an underlying emotional issues that you have surrounding money. If you don’t, you’ll sabotage your debt elimination plan.