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How to Pay off Debt Fast Using the Stack Method (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Pay off Debt Fast Using the Stack Method (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Whether it’s consumer debt on credit cards, student loans or a mortgage, most people find themselves weighed down by debt at some point in their lives. This can keep us working jobs we hate just to pay the bills and keep our heads above water. By learning how to pay off debt fast you can release this burden and remove some of the stress from your life.

Today I’m going to show you how to pay off your debt fast using the Stack Method:

Step 1: Stop creating new debt

Most people do not receive training in handling money and how to live within their means. If you’re in debt then you’re probably one of these people and it’s time to bite the reality bullet.

It’s going to be impossible to get out of debt unless you retrain your financial habits right now.

You must make a stand against all the marketers trying to take your hard earned money or offering easy finance. You don’t need more stuff to make you happy. What you need is financial peace of mind.

So cut up your credit cards or freeze them. I mean this literally. Put them in a container of water and stash them in your freezer. T

hen when there’s an opportunity to spend, you have time to thaw out (you and the credit cards) and really decide if you need that purchase.

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Step 2: Rank your debt by interest rate

Make a list of all your debt with amounts and the interest rate. The highest interest rate should be at the top as this is what you’ll pay off first.

Paying off your high interest debt is the key to the Stack Method and paying off debt as fast as possible.

Interest is a powerful weapon and right now the bank or other financial institutions are using it against you. Interest significantly increases the amount you need to pay back and often we’re completely unaware of how much that is.

For example, if you have a $10,000 credit card debt at 20% interest where you pay a minimum payment of $200 a month, you will end up taking 9 years and 8 months to pay off the actual amount of $21,680 including $11,680 in interest!

Step 3: Lower your interest rates

You can often lower your credit card interest rates by doing a balance transfer. This means moving your credit card to another bank and they will lower the interest rate to get your business.

Shop around and try to get the lowest interest rate for the longest duration (preferably until it’s paid off completely). Just make sure you’re reading the terms and conditions carefully so you don’t get stung by the new bank in other ways.

Once you’ve done this you can order your list of debt again if things have changed.

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Step 4: Create a strategic spending plan

This is where we improve your financial control from Step 1. Take a piece of paper and write down your income after tax and all the expenses that you have. This will include the minimum payments on all your debt.

Look at your expenses and then rank them in order of importance to you. Look at the items on the bottom of your list and decide whether you’d rather have them or be financially stable. The objective is to create a Strategic Spending Plan where your expenses are lower than your income.

You also decide how much you are willing to spend on each area of your life. You can allocate amounts for rent, groceries, eating out, buying clothes and other activities however realize that once you’ve spent your allocated money there’s no dipping into other areas.

It also helps to have a Fun Account that you can spend on what you like and an Emergencies Account in case your car breaks down etc.

You also want to include in your Strategic Spending Plan as extra amount you’re going to use to pay off debt.

Can you afford $20 a week? $50? $100? $200 or more? It’s important that you get a realistic number that you can commit to each week without fail and this is your Stack Repayment.

Step 5: Create a repayment schedule

The first part of the Stack Method is to cover the minimum payment on every single debt you have. Any time you miss a payment, you incur fees and these add up quickly. This also includes making the minimum payment on the debt with the highest interest rate.

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Then for the debt with the highest interest rate (your Target Debt) you’re going to add the Stack Repayment from your Strategic Spending Plan. You apply this Stack Repayment and the minimum payment until that debt is paid off in full.

As your official minimum payment decreases, you add that extra amount to your Stack Repayment. So as your minimum repayment drops, your Stack Repayment increases equally. This will compound how fast you pay off the Target Debt by adding even more to the repayments you’re making.

Step 6: Reward your progress

You want to track your Target Debt so you can see your progress along the way. You can also decide on milestones that you’re going to celebrate and reward yourself on.

A reward doesn’t have to cost money but if it does then it comes from your previously allocated Strategic Spending Plan.

This is an important step as it will keep your motivation going when you feel your willpower fading.

Just like you’ve trained yourself to brush your teeth and shower, you can train yourself to manage your money. Feel great that you’re now entering the 10-,20% of people who are actually responsible with money.

Step 7: Compound your results

Once you pay off your Target Debt, you have a huge celebration and congratulate yourself. Then you move the Stack Repayment (which includes the previous minimum payment as well now) to the next debt with the highest interest rate.

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This becomes the new Target Debt and you are using your Stack Repayment amount plus the minimum payment for the new debt.

This is why the Stack Method is so powerful. As you decrease a debt you actually increase your Stack Repayment amount. This means the second debt will get paid off even faster, the third even faster than that, and so on and so on until you are completely debt free.

Step 8: Be kind to yourself

During this process, your resolve is going to be tested multiple times. Maybe you’ll have an emergency like your car breaking down or the need to travel for a sick relative. The important thing is to not throw up your hands in despair while going back to your old habits.

Life will test your commitment to your new responsible money attitude and it’s up to you how you respond. When things go wrong (and I guarantee they will) you need to shrug it off and get back on track.

Show compassion when you accidentally go over your Strategic Spending Plan and decide to do better next week.

The bottom line

The Stack Method is a powerful tool but it’s up to you whether you use it.

If you really want results, then bookmark this article immediately and start working through the steps.

It’s only by the decision you make right now that you will enjoy a debt free future and live a financially responsible life.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Craig Dewe

Craig founded Lifestyle Outlaws, with the belief that everyone should have the time, money and health to do what they want with life.

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Last Updated on April 28, 2020

9 Millionaire Success Habits That Will Inspire Your Life

9 Millionaire Success Habits That Will Inspire Your Life

As technology evolves and information becomes more accessible, it has also become more challenging to define success. A lot of people are trapped in the rat race while trying to discover the actual formula for success.

You could become overwhelmed with what tools, techniques or philosophies to imbibe while trying to get tips over the internet. At every click and turn, there are ‘how-tos and quick-fix’ on how to become successful overnight. You will find several courses, articles, videos and books on how to achieve financial success.

But what if I tell you it doesn’t have to be complicated as people made it out to be? What if you could achieve success by merely following these 9 millionaire success habits?

1. Read for Personal Development

A daily habit I have discovered millionaires share in common is reading. For instance, if you are an entrepreneur, you need to read to become an efficient leader and a productive business owner. Reading helps you to grow and learn without going to a business school.

A research conducted by Thomas Crowley indicates about 85% of self-made millionaires read at least two or more books each month. [1] Warren Buffett is one of these examples. He spends 80% of his day reading. In the early days of his investment career, he would read 600 to 1000 pages in a single day.

While millionaires sometimes read for pleasure, they also learn to improve themselves. They read topics on leadership, how-tos, self-help, biographies, lifehacks and also follow current events.

Here’re some recommendations for you: 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

2. Establish Multiple Sources of Income

Another success habit I noticed about successful people is that they don’t depend on a single income source. Every millionaire possesses multiple sources of income. This helps them to manage economic challenges and also make more money.

They are passive income addicts. They earn interests from loans, rental income from real estate, royalties from intellectual properties, dividends from investments. They also launch a side business or run a website or sell information products.

How income is made either passively or actively is what separates the successful from the wannabes. They are always learning ways to build multiple streams of income.

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3. Live on a Stipulated Monthly Budget

An average millionaire does not believe in luck and jackpot. They take the time to understand cash flow-income and expenses. Based on this, they establish a monthly budget and religiously stick to it.

The essence of the budget is to minimize unnecessary expenses. This will help you gain complete control of your financial life. Budgeting helps you to avoid overspending to achieve your financial goals. Here’re some tips to help you stuck to your budget: 32 Hacks for Sticking to Your Budget

4. Manage and Maximize Money

The most significant education for a millionaire is financial intelligence. Nobody attains financial freedom without gaining financial intelligence. This is the more reason millionaire, regardless of their income, keep their knowledge about tax strategies updated.

They always seek to reduce their tax bills. One approach they employ is by living or incorporating their business in states with no income tax.

Do you know that about 60 companies paid $0 legally in the 2018 tax year? Some of these companies that ‘avoided'(note: not evaded) federal income tax include Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, General Motors, Delta. Their US income was totaled at $79 billion with an effective tax rate of -5%.

What’s the deal? They got a tax refund.

How do they accomplish these?

An ITEP report indicated that they have the culture of throwing huge sums at tax experts who assist them in discovering creative, as well as convoluted means of paying little tax as much as possible.[2]

5. Avoid Debt

Another habit that separates the millionaires from the rest of the world is how they manage debt.

They don’t live an extravagant lifestyle; instead, they only buy what they need and can pay for. They do not book hotels and flights by using their credit cards to pay for them.

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They are conscious of the interest rates even when they use credits cards or take loans. If possible, they try to pay with cash because of its zero percent interest rate.

6. Set Daily Goals

It does not matter if they are setting up a business, a career, or financial projections; they have the success habit of setting short term goals. They plan daily and weekly goals to generate momentum in achieving their long-term goals.

Ensure you prioritize when setting daily goals. This will help you to achieve the most important to-dos on your list.

Setting priorities will help you to focus on highly rewarding activities. If you desire financial freedom, it is wise to pursue activities that earn you thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of dollars.

7. Don’t Act Rich

The goal is not to act rich but to be productive. Interestingly, Thomas Stanley buttressed in his book that for the most prestige brands of cars, about 86% percent are toys of the non-millionaires. While most believe that people with huge fortunes tend to drive exotic cars, in reality the largest consumers of pricey cars are aspiring millionaires.[3]

According to findings by Experian Automotive Researchers, 61% of individuals who earn $250,000 or more rarely buy luxury brands. Instead, they buy Hondas, Toyotas, and Fords like the rest of the world. The reason is they are not ready to spend money on premium cars that tend to drop in value in a couple of years as it would cost money. Millionaires invest in assets that appreciate.[4]

8. Own or Buy Businesses

In Robert Kiyosaki’s cashflow quadrant, he divided how you earn income into four quadrants. The E and the S quadrants take the left position while the B and the I are on the right side. According to Robert, it is possible to be on all quadrants, but the millionaires are not.[5]

  • E stands for employee – they work for others
  • S stands for self-employed – they work for themselves
  • B stands for a Business owner- employees work for them (500 or more employees)
  • I stand for Investors – Money work for them like Warren Buffet.

Your goal is to move from the left quadrant to the right quadrants where you own big businesses or make money work for you.

It is possible to become financially successful by pursuing what you love. For instance, if you love writing, aspire to be the best seller. Wealth and passion work together.

Check out How to Start a Small Business with Little to No Money for tips.

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9. Avoid Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

A millionaire holds patience as an essential virtue. It takes patience to become successful, not only in finance but in every aspect of life. While it is possible to become financially successful at an early age, most millionaires hit it at age 50. They live a moderate life, invest in their future and retire rich.

Bonus: How to Develop the Millionaire Success Habits?

Having learned these habits, the next question is,

How can I develop the Millionaire Success habits?

Here are six values you will need to develop:

Establish Your Life Vision

You need to be clear about what you want in life to set yourself for a life of success. Your vision has to go beyond becoming a millionaire to understanding why you want to become one. Any great entrepreneur you will ever find has a clear vision and an established mission.

Understanding why you are doing what you do will drive you to become the kind of successful person you want to be.

Make Your Passion a Profession

When your passion becomes your profession, work becomes pleasurable. Loving what you do enables money to flow to you and through you.

So what’s going to be? Wake up every morning by speaking positive words into your work, love what you do, and focus on the work that brings you joy.

Take a look at this article and learn how to make it happen: 5 Steps To Turn Your Passion Into A Career

Focus on Solution

Focusing on the solution means establishing the problem that you or your business address. This will help you focus on the solutions when others are faced with challenges.

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A millionaire has a mindset that is fixed on the solution. He or she knows there’s a way out, and that every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

Improve your problem solving skills with these tips: 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Develop Your Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are an asset that is indispensable if you want to develop a millionaire success habit. The more you hone your leadership skills, the more you will attract leaders who share your values.

Be Growth-Focused

Millionaire entrepreneurs prioritize self-improvement. Here’s how to achieve it:

  • Get a coach. Coaching will impact your life, and you will achieve peak performance in life and business when you have a life coach.
  • Be coachable. It is not enough to have a coach; you must be coachable. Sometimes, you need feedback and counsel to reposition your life and business. A coach has the wisdom and experience to counsel you from a higher perspective. The more you receive feedback and work on yourself, the more you become better at what you do and who you are.

Flip Your Thought Pattern From Acting To Being

It is not enough to have a millionaire success habit, you must also become a person of positive influence. This is how you can become significant. Bill Gates is not only rich; he is changing lives in Africa and different parts of the world.

If you want to become successful, you must first be and think like a successful person. This is how resources you need can flow into your life.

Here’s a final thought from me:

It is not enough to do something to have something; success is about being someone who possesses what is needed to take positive and inspired actions.

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Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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