Have you ever run across those posts on Pinterest that talk about “Family of 5 Pays off Debt in 6 Months” roll your eyes, and keep scrolling? Lol, yeah me too. What we need to understand about debt is a lot of people have it, and you are not alone. It is possible to pay off your debt on ANY income if you are willing to develop healthier financial habits. I know a lot of us think that if we just made $1,000.00 more dollars we could use that to take care of any past mistakes me may have made in our finances. With a little help and some awesome tips, you will be well on your way to financial security and growth! Make sure you keep reading for some pretty incredible tips on how to lower your debt!
Write it Down (Tip #1)
So I know when it comes to budgeting a lot of times we view that as a scary word. However, if you plan to get out of debt, you need to know WHAT you are spending your money on. Creating a simple budget in order to see where you are spending your money is the first step in the right direction. You will need to create a budget detailing EVERYTHING. That includes tithes & offerings, groceries, fuel, electricity, student loans, etc. After this task is completed create a FINAL Budget showing where you will be able to save money, or expenses that are not needed. (It will add up, trust me!) You want to make sure you include your debt with the highest interest rate, as it will be important to eliminate this expense first.
- Pro Tip: Call the companies that host your utilities and see if there is any way to lower these expenses. Our family switched from a regular monthly electric bill to a prepaid account. I am not sure if this is offered everywhere, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. By having a prepaid electric bill we are more aware of our electrical usage. They send us a DAILY reading of our usage as well as our balance. When we first started on this program we were using $4.68/day. Now that we are more aware of our habits, we are averaging $3.20/day. I absolutely LOVE it as it has saved us around $45.00/mo.
Use Bonuses & Raises Towards Debt (Tip #2)
Okay, I know this is hard…but it will be worth it in the long run. Instead of buying a new home, car, or phone (because let’s face it, new phones are a grip these days) take the extra $300 increase you see in your raise and place it towards your debt pay off. Even if you are someone who has a lower income, you will be able to do this. It’s all about living within your means and watching your debt shrink away. It’s important to remember that this is a marathon and not a race. You will be able to see your debt go down with every conscious payment you make in order to do so.
The Snowball Effect (Tip #3)
Go ahead and Google this method which Dave Ramsey teaches to his students that are working towards gaining financial freedom. I will give you a short brief here, ofcourse. List your debts from lowest to highest. Begin paying on the debt that is the least amount and work your way up to the top until there is none left. The trick in this is you are able to see your efforts pay off with each and every debt starting from the one of the lowest amount. You receive that encouragement that you need to push forward and tackle the higher debts.
Side Hustle (Tip #4)
Ah, the term that was probably one of the most overused in 2018 lol. A side hustle is a job outside of your regular 9-5 where you make a little bit of extra cash. My husband has joked that since I spend so much money at Target, I should take that on as a side hustle. There are tons of side hustles you can do from the comfort of your home as well. If you are stretched for cash in your regular paying job and the budget is already tight then taking on a side hustle in order to pay down debt is the way to go. In my opinion starting to look around September is ideal as businesses are gearing up to over staff for the holidays!
Create an Emergency Fund (Tip #5)
In my head, me and Suzy Orman are best friends. We used to spend many date nights together on Saturdays before she left her show. Suzy recommends saving 8 months worth of your expenses and putting it towards and Emergency Fund. For example: If my monthly expenses are $2,000.00 I would need to save a portion of my check every month to go towards my $16,000.00 Emergency Fund. But Megan, how will this help me pay off my debt? It will keep you on the right track to paying your debt down in spite of an emergency situation. Loss of income, medical issues, etc.
Stop Paying for Coffee & Eating Out (Tip #6)
I know when I first started getting into budgeting this was the hardest part for me. I ABSOLUTELY love Starbucks and going out to eat with my family. When I saw that I was spending over $100.00/mo. at Starbucks on a $6.00 cup of coffee and we were spending almost $200.00 on random Chick-Fil-A trips, restaurants, etc. I knew something had to give. If we were going to be on the road to financial freedom we needed to cut some of these expenses, and FAST! I began googling or using Pinterest to look up ways to recreate my favorite drink at Starbuck’s which is a Mocha Frappuccino. There are a lot of recipes out there on the web. So I used Wal-Mart Grocery Pickup to get all the items I needed which totaled around the amount I was going to spend on one cup of coffee. Now I was able to create several tasty Mocha Frappuccino’s whenever I’d like. If you’re a coffee snob like me, Wal-Mart also has reusable Starbuck’s cups to make you feel like you’re spending the money in house but you’re recreating the your favorites and saving money at home!
Create a Goal (Tip #7)
You know you want to become debt free, you created a budget, now it’s time to make your goal. In what amount of time do you want to achieve being debt free? This is really up to you and what you are comfortable with doing without. Your goal should be realistic and achievable. Don’t say you are going to pay off $32,000.00 in two months because you’re playing the lottery and “You feel lucky.” Go with creating a goal that will not overwhelm you, and where you are able to see small wins.
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself (Tip #8)
You didn’t rack up this debt overnight so don’t expect to become good at paying it off in a day’s time frame. Take it easy and you will achieve Financial Health.
Sell What You Don’t Need (Tip #9)
Facebook has an online Marketplace where you can connect with other’s in your area who are willing to purchase your items. You don’t necessarily have to do a garage sale in order to make some extra cash. Take good photos of items you are not currently using around your home and list them. Any extra cash you make, put it towards paying down your debt.
No More Debt (Tip #10)
You are on the road to greatness. Don’t revert to your old tricks and habits. You want to live a more meaningful life where you are debt free. Think about how hard you worked to reach the finish line and evaluate whether or not it’s worth it to go back into debt. For me, the answer would be no.
I hope you found this info helpful. Leave me some comments below of any tips you have used to become Debt Free!
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