Get Yourself Out Of Debt in 3 Easy Steps
Whether it is due to student loans, unforeseen expenses, or some frivolous spending in our youth, carrying debt is something the majority of us are familiar with.
It is often unavoidable. According to Money-Zine, Americans carry $886 billion in credit card debt, which breaks down to over $5,700 per card holder. Perhaps even more sobering are the latest statistics from the Federal Reserve, which show consumers are increasing their debt- in July of 2014 the debt in the United States reached $3.2 trillion.
Debt is stressful, can hold you back from accomplishing your financial goals, and maxing out your credit will cause your credit score to nosedive. What’s worse is that these reprocussions may haunt you for years if you don’t address them. The good news is that with a few easy steps and some hard work, it is a very real possibility to say goodbye to debt forever. By implementing these 3 simple steps, I was able to pay off over $10,000 in under a year and a half, and I am fully confident that you can do the same!
1. Budget, Budget, Budget.
The first step towards getting your debt paid off is to diligently track your money. There are many useful tools which can help you outline your income versus your spending, and a huge resource of free budget templates can be found quickly and easily online. You can pick and modify any of them in order to cater to your lifestyle, and this will give you a realistic idea of how long it will take you to pay off what you owe.
By closely tracking your spending, you can make conscious decisions that will allow you to align your income with your monetary goals. Take a close look at your expenses and trim any unnecessary ones. Eat out less or cancel that Netflix membership to quickly and efficiently cut expenditures. Also, any excess cash you have should be thrown at your debt. The more money you put towards paying off your debt, the faster it will go away.
Hard work pays off, and putting in some extra hours can help you kiss that debt goodbye years faster. You can take on a second job in order to offset your expenses and to meet your goals more quickly. I worked at a restaurant on the weekends to help me pay off a significant chunk of my debt, but there are lots of other possibilities. You could consider freelancing or nanny-ing as other options.
While in the short term it may seem difficult, or almost impossible, the payoff is well worth it. A second job will allow you room to breathe, and will afford you more financial freedom than you would have with one sole source of income.
3. Don’t Add to the Debt
Decide to stop spending, and stick to it. Do not open new credit cards, and do not charge anything to your existing lines of credit. In order to get yourself out of debt, you must stop adding to it. In order to achieve a debt-free future, you must learn to stop living on borrowed funds. It is important to live within your means so that you won’t find yourself owing again after you’ve worked so hard to get out of it.
Keep in mind that high interest rates can add to your existing debt. Try to avoid them if opening a new credit card is absolutely necessary. You can also talk to your bank- some will lower the interest rate for qualified credit card holders. Many cards offer a 0% APR (Annual Percentage Rate) on balance transfers for 18 months, and this can be a good opportunity to escape a higher interest rate and to pay off your debt faster. Just be sure to get it all paid off before the higher rate kicks in at the end of the promotional period.
The bottom line is this: be conservative in your spending and diligent about putting as much as possible towards paying off your debt. Before you know it, your debt will be gone.
Have questions or input? We would love to hear it! Tweet to me @MsCareerGirl or @sncueto!