If you’re living with debt – or worse, if you are buried alive under a heap of debt the size of a mountain – the thought of debt free living can seem like a pipe dream. You’ve looked at what it will take to pay off your debt that have accumulated over the years, and maybe even you made a plan to pay it off but haven’t had that long term determination to make it happen.
But consider how great it would be to not have to shell out hundreds of dollars each month in credit card payments. How would your life change if you had that extra money to enjoy life again rather than spend it paying minimums on credit cards each month?
Debt free living doesn’t have to be only a dream. You can make it happen, but I’m not going to lie – it won’t be easy. If you want to make it happen, it’s going to take some hard work and determination.
It may mean that you find a way to have fun on Friday nights at home without going out and spending a bunch of cash, and it may mean that you brown bag it at work every day instead of having lunch with your regular crew at the new BBQ place down the street.
The first step toward debt free living is to make it completely unnecessary to use your credit cards. You’ve likely been living outside of your means if you are using your credit cards regularly, so what this means is that you either have to make more money or spend less – and for most people, spending less is far more reasonable right away than making more money.
So look at areas of your budget that you can trim. Can you switch to a lesser cable plan or cancel it altogether (I know. Live without cable? A heresy)? Can you cut down on minutes on your cell phone plan? Can you get rid of your home phone? Maybe you can even refinance your car, put yourself on a spending plan for your “fun” money, and find ways to save money at the grocery store. If you make an honest effort, you can likely find a great little ball of cash available to you.
The next step in debt free living is to use some of that extra cash to make yourself a savings account. When you have a savings account with about 2-3 months worth of expenses stored away, you will be less likely to turn to your credit cards for emergencies.
Then, with your savings account built up – which may take a little while to do if you only have a small amount of extra cash available each month – you can start using that extra money to pay off your credit cards. Start with the smallest one first, and then when that one is paid off, you will have a larger amount of cash to throw towards your next largest credit card.
You probably didn’t get into your credit card mess overnight, and you can’t get out of it overnight either. Debt free living can be yours to enjoy, but it will take some time.