Debt is not forever, but in our house, debt is a very dirty four-letter word. In fact, I hope that our boys never even know that four-letter word exists.
If there is one thing that I have learned on this debt-free journey, it is that dumping debt ain’t easy and without serious hustle and a solid plan in place, you will fall flat on your face.
I have done that – falling flat on my face, many times on this journey. It is not fun, but it is a heck-of-a-lot easier to pick yourself back up again if you have a plan. It is also made easier by following these four steps:
Step 1: STOP Accumulating New Debt
Do not wreck your debt-free journey by going backwards. STOP accumulating new debt immediately! That means, you are no longer using your credit cards to make purchases and you are not taking out any new loans for anything. Period.
If you continue to accumulate new debt, all you are doing is setting yourself up for failure. Once you start this journey there is no looking back.
Step 2: LET GO of the Negative
This may seem silly, but the more negative you are about everything in life, the less likely you are to succeed in your debt-free journey (or anything in life for that matter). You are going to face hard times on this journey and you are going to have to make difficult sacrifices. Avoid allowing the negative thoughts and negative talk hold you back from reaching the end of your journey.
Getting rid of my beloved Tahoe was a difficult sacrifice for me, but it allowed us to dump $18,000 of debt in one day. At first, it was easy to be negative about the paid-for car that I replaced the Tahoe with because it was below my high car standards. In fact, I hated my Sequoia, I wanted to get in a wreck just so I could get rid of it I hated it so much. Now, I would not trade my Sequoia for that Tahoe even if it were free. Why? I found contentment and peace with having a vehicle that runs great, still has a few bells and whistles (leather interior and a sunroof) and gets my family from point A to point B.
Let go of the negative and find contentment where you are right now. It will make the debt-free journey easier and increase the likelihood of your success.
Step 3: MANAGE your Money
In order to make the debt-free journey easier, you need to know where your money is going every month and how much extra you can throw at the debt monster. Make it a point to sit down with your spouse (if applicable) and make a budget. If your spouse works a lot or is avoiding the whole budgeting process, you can make it easier by making out the budget and then asking your spouse to help you fix it (ladies, I have learned that men like to “fix” things, so make sure you ask that he helps you to fix the budget).
Currently, my hubs and I use a Google Docs spreadsheet that I update every week with our transactions and then I notify my hubs when it is ready for him to review. It keeps us on top of our money and keeps communication open.
Step 4: Make a PLAN
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar
Mr. Ziglar had it right. In order to win, you must plan to win first. If you want to succeed on your debt free journey, you must make a plan. Creating a debt payoff plan does not have to be a challenge, keep it simple and you will succeed. Start with your lowest balanced debt and work your way towards your largest one.
When I first ventured on the debt-free journey, I went at it without a real plan and just ended up burned out. Yes, I was still paying off debt but without a plan and way to measure my success, I was not able to feel accomplishments but just ended feeling like it was all for nothing. Create a plan and stick to it.
Anyone that has ever stepped out on the journey towards debt-freedom knows that it is not easy. My goal with my next project is to make it a tad bit easier on you. I have created an Excel workbook based off the one that my family uses that will help you track your debt payoff plan, budget, financial plan, assets, and more!
That is my ultimate goal, to serve you, my readers and to help motivate you to become better money managers. In order to do that, I will have to know how well/not well my workbook is working for you. Currently, I only have it as an Excel file due to the flexibility and ease of inputting data. I figured it would probably be easier to use than a .pdf.
Do you have a plan in place for becoming debt-free?
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