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10 Ways To Become Debt-Free Quickly

10 Ways To Become Debt-Free Quickly

Do you want to become debt-free? In the current economy, American consumers owe $11.74 trillion in debt. While debt is common, it is very stressful and can put your whole life on hold. However, there are ways to help yourself get out of debt that are easy to keep to.

Check out 10 easy ways to become debt-free.

1. Pay Off High-Interest Debt First

Getting out of debt is hard – and even harder if your debts have high interest. Try to pay off your high interest debts first, as this makes your debt slightly cheaper in the long run; if you are paying $50 interest a month on one credit card, and $30 on another, paying off the first will make it easier to save and pay off your other debt.

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2. Look At Your Income And Expenses

Take a good look at your income and outgoings. Write down how much you make a month, and all of your outgoing expenses; rent, bills, travel, food, entertainments and little treats. You may be surprised to see how much you actually spend on things you could live without.

Doing this will show you how much money you have after your expenses to pay off debt, and it is a great way to show you what you are already spending too much on.

3. Create A Budget And Payback Strategy – And Stick To It

Once you’ve looked over your income and expenses, you can focus on creating a budget that pays off a set amount of your debt every month. For instance, if you earn $2,000 a month and you spend $1,500 on life expenses, you can pay off $500 of debt every month.

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A good way to stick to this is to pretend you earn $1,500 a month – that way it doesn’t feel like you are losing anything.

4. Get Rid Of One Luxury

Everyone enjoys a treat, whether you enjoy a daily coffee or subscriptions to your favorite magazines.

Work out one treat that you could live without, and cut it out. As you still have most of your treats, this should be easy to stick to. For instance, if you stop buying a daily coffee at work for $3, you save $15 dollars a week – and $60 a month.

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5. Consider Maximizing Your Salary

If you earn more, it will be easier for you to pay off your debt in quicker time. You could take on a second job, but if you don’t there are many other ways to earn a little extra; the amount of home owners in the United Kingdom taking on lodgers has doubled in recent years. Other options include selling on eBay, babysitting or freelancing.

6. Make More Than You Spend

Many people struggle to save, and can end up spending more than they own. Recent studies reveal that in 2010, 73% of Americans spent less than they earned, but by 2012 that number had fallen to 66%. Many people struggle with this problem, so make sure you know every month that you made more money than you spent.

7. Improve Your Credit Score

Improving your credit score is a great way to ease your debt, and work on paying off other debts. As your credits score improves, the interest rates you pay become lower. For instance, your interest monthly payments could sink by $20, saving you $240 a year. You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time and not opening other credit accounts.

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8. Anything You Don’t Spend, Save

If you have money left over at the month, don’t treat yourself to a new handbag – treat yourself by reducing your debt a little further. Thinking this way will make you debt-free faster, getting you back to a financial situation you are happy with.

9. Be Disciplined

Try to avoid borrowing any more money or taking on any more debts until you have repaid what you already owe. This can often cause people to become disheartened, which could result in them losing their motivation and not keeping up to their re-payments.

Stick to your budget, and think about if you actually need to get in more debt – what is the money for? Is it essential?

10. Stop Thinking About It

Don’t spend every day obsessing over your repayment plans and budget – this can stress you out and make you feel like you are not in control of your debt. However once you have a payment plan in place, you can stop thinking about it and start just paying it. You are chipping away at your debt every day, so relax and try not to think about it. Good luck!

Featured photo credit: Imcreator.com via imcreator.com

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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