One of the biggest obstacles many of us face in our financial life is getting rid of debt. Think how much freedom you would have in your budget if you weren’t still paying off the vacation you took 3 years ago, dinners out 6 months ago or the clothing hanging in the closet with the tags still on them. So what’s the magic solution? The magic solution is, to steal a phrase…JUST DO IT! I have been chiseling at my own debt for the past three years, with the end in sight in two. Here are the tips I have found useful.
1) Get Serious
Don’t think about this in theory only. You need to get in there, get dirty and make hard choices. You need to understand this is not a way of life you will have to adopt forever, but it will forever change your life. Prepare to make sacrifices and stick with it.
2) Make a Plan
Use online calculators to figure out realistic monthly payments. These will allow you to plug in your various debts, their interest rates and the amount of time you would like to have those debts paid within.
3) Sell Anything You Don’t Need
Think about all the “stuff” you have that you don’t need. Be brutal. Sell those items and use the money to pay down your debt. Put ads in the classifieds and on Craigslist, have a garage or yard sale, take things to the consignment shop, sell extra gold for cash. The side benefit to all of this is the peace you will feel when you don’t have all of this extra “stuff” weighing you down.
4) Work a Part-Time Job
Pick something you will enjoy so it’s bearable, but find something to bring in extra income. I like working with people, so working at the guest service counter of a local discount store has been a great fit for me in the past. Those paychecks go directly to paying off debt.
5) Sell Your Skills
What are you good at? What can you do that others don’t like to do? You have an opportunity to get paid for these things! Mow lawns, tutor, baby sit, run errands, freelance, do handyman work, drive for those who can’t…the possibilities are endless.
6) DON’T Take on New Debt
Just because you have cleared up extra room on your credit cards as you pay off your debt does NOT mean it’s okay to charge them up again.
7) Buy Only What You Need
If it’s not in your budget, don’t buy it. If you can borrow it, don’t buy it. If you can improvise and use something else, don’t buy it. If you can repair something you already have to use in place of it, don’t buy it. Are you seeing a theme here? Stop buying things you don’t need!
8) Treat Yourself
This is not an excuse to spend money. Do however, do things that you enjoy…take a bubble bath, or a moonlit walk, cook a dinner you truly enjoy. Spend your life doing things you enjoy, but don’t spend your life spending.
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