Being in debt is overwhelming. It may seem impossible to get out of debt and you might not know where to begin. However, it is possible and you can do it! It just takes five steps to begin the process of being debt free!
Make a conscious decision to stop borrowing money
It is important to make the conscious decision to stop borrowing money. The first step in getting out of debt is making the conscious decision to stop borrowing money. It is important that you stop using debt to fund your lifestyle, especially if that lifestyle is beyond your means. Make the commitment to yourself that today will be the end of borrowing money. This means no more financing furniture, no more signing up for credit cards, and no more impromptu shopping trips. Making a commitment to stop borrowing money will help you focus solely on the debt you currently have, so that you can develop a game plan to pay it off quickly.
Organize your debt
After you have committed yourself to becoming debt free, the next thing you should do is organize your debt. This gives you a good idea of what to pay off first and what can be paid off last. It also helps you create goals for yourself in terms of paying things off!
Create a realistic budget and stick to it
Developing a budget that tracks your income and your expenses is crucial to getting out of debt in a short period of time. It will help you gauge where you are with your finances so that you can move forward toward your goal of being debt free. It will also expose where your money is going and whether you have any money left over.
A useful tool to use is Mint.com. It is a secure phone app that looks at your accounts and then creates a budget for you based on what you are spending and your income. If you don’t feel comfortable using Mint.com, another easy way to track your spending is by using an Excel spreadsheet. Then go over each item on your budget and ask yourself how you can make this number smaller. It may involve cancelling services that you rarely use. For example, a gym membership, Netflix subscription, or cable. It might even mean reducing the amount of times that you eat out at restaurants each month or the amount of money you spend on clothes. The areas where you cut depend on your level of commitment to getting out of debt. The more committed you are, the easier it will be for you to give up some of the unnecessary amenities in life.
Change your lifestyle habits
Take some time and think about how you spend your money each day, each week and each month. Look at your budget to see where all of your money is going to. Do you really need your daily latte? Can you bring your lunch to work instead of buying it four times a week? Ask yourself what can you change to lower your expenses. Get thrifty- start couponing, look for deals and try to eliminate your bad habits. For example, if you do a lot of online shopping at one retailer, you may have stored your credit card information on the site to make the checkout process easier. But that also makes it easier to charge items you don’t need. So clear that information. Take the time to remove all your credit cards from your wallet and leave them at home. When you don’t have your credit card around, you will not be able to make a purchase.
Throw any excess cash at your debt
There will be times when unexpected extra money falls into your lap. Instead of putting it towards the latest designer bag, vacation, or a night on the town, put the money towards your debt. The more cash you can put towards your debt, the faster it will disappear. You can also get creative with how you bring in extra cash. Try selling unwanted items online or take up a side business as freelancer. Make a habit of putting all of those profits towards your debt.
Once you start following these five steps, you will begin to see your debt dwindle and become more manageable. Take back control of your finances with the help of Citizens Law Group.