There seems to be this false assumption, not only amongst the world of personal finance, but in everyday life, that you have to be rich to pay off debt, and that’s not the case. I know so many people who are hard working, lower-middle class, and have worked diligently to pay off their debt. Being debt free is a feeling like no other. You don’t have to stress about paying this company, forgetting this bill, remembering due dates, etc. Even if you have debt in the 6 figure range, you can still pay off debt without making 6 figures. You simply have to have a plan.
- You have to want to get out of debt: If you don’t mind debt too much, chances are, you’re not going to be in a rush to get out of it. You’re going to take your time, pay the bare minimum, and go on around your life as if debt is something normal to have. It sound redundant, but if you want to get out of debt, you have to want to get out of debt. You have to have the desire to be debt free.
- You have to be patient: Are you going to pay off your debt instantaneously? Chances are, the answer is no. Depending on the size of your debt and your income, it can take months or years. You have to be absolutely patient. Paying off your debt is going to take time, but the harder you work at it, the closer you’ll be to a debt free life. Understand that it’s not going to be easy, and there will be temptation to relapse (being in debt can certainly feel like an addiction), but it’s very possible.
- You have to make changes: Do you think you’re going to get out of debt living life how you’ve been living? The answer is no. If the way you’re living was working before, you wouldn’t be in debt in the first place. Things are going to have to change. Think about expensive things that you can forfeit to increase your cashflow. Can you downsize your living arrangements? Can you alter how often or your method of travel? Can you let go of the gardener and maid and do things yourself? See what you can do without and apply that money to your debt.
- You have to try to maximize your money: I know I said you don’t have to be rich, and I mean that. But, you can stand to make some more money strictly for your debt payment goal. It can be anything you’re comfortable with. Maybe you have some bartending skills you can lend on the weekends. Maybe you can teach some classes for a small fee. You can sell things you make, or things you bought and no longer use. Try to increase your income and apply extra money toward your debt.
- You have to have support: Paying off debt is so extremely hard to do. It can be frustrating see your money go towards something you owe, especially if it’s a large payment. Make sure you have a strong support system that can encourage you to keep going when you get debt payment fatigue. Have your family and friends involved to hold you accountable and cheer you on. You may even encourage them to join you.