Happy little Friday- that sounds better than calling today Thursday, yes?
You already know that living debt free will eliminate the majority of stressors in your life, but maybe you are wondering how to get there?
When Mr. A and I made the decision to live #debtfree, we were up to our eyeballs in student loans and car payments and knew that there had to be more to life than this. Maybe you feel the same way- you want to be able to go on vacation, have children and a house without dinner being interrupted by debt collectors. Rest assured, this is very much attainable, no matter what your current financial situation.
Here are 10 Ways To Get On Track For A Debt Free Life
1. Realize that there is no good debt. Many times people tell themselves that student loans and car payments are good debt. These people are lying to themselves. Debt is debt- get rid of it.
2. Choose a credit card that pays you. Credit cards often get a bad rep in the #debtfree world, but if you used correctly, can actually make you money! How? By choosing a credit card where you collect points based on your purchases that can later be exchanged for credit on your Paypal or Amazon accounts. Or, even better, be applied directly to your future credit card statements. That’s it- that’s how easy it is. And it works- last year we had an extra $700 in income from using our points.
3. Use that credit card to pay for everything. The reason? To accumulate points, obviously! Don’t forget about regular bills that can be put on your credit card, such as water and electric bills, RMV/DMV payments, etc. It really adds up!
4. And pay said credit card off every. single. month. This is self explanatory. If you don’t pay it off every month, you get charged interest. There is absolutely no reason for you to live outside of your means. If you can’t pay it off, then don’t buy it.
5. Stop competing with the Jones’. I think we’ve talk about this before, but I’m serious. If you need to take a break from social media for a while to help remind you that you do not need to be ‘checking in’ to the latest trendy restaurant in the city to be happy, then do it. If you have debt, splurging should be the exception. Yes, you should treat yourself once in a while- but remember, you accrued this debt and it’s up to you to pay it off.
6. Sign for up freebies. Because a) they are free and b) getting non bills in the mail is free. A simple google search of available products can get you some good stuff- like travel size toiletries and you get to try to new products. BONUS! Usually companies include coupons when they send you freebies.
I like to check moneysavingmom.com for freebies every day. And no, I’m not affiliated with them 😉
7. Stop going out to eat. See above comment about trendy restaurant. Restaurants are luxuries. If you have (and don’t want) debt, why the heck are you paying for a meal at a restaurant that you can make at home for a third of the price?
8. Consider trading in your new car. Cars are now more than just something to get you from Point A to Point B. Our American culture tells us that we should have a new, $40,000 car every few years. If you have been buying into this trend, the good news is that you could potentially trade in your car for something older and less shiny but still reliable and use the remaining money to pay off your old loan.
2015 new shiny car- you have a five year loan for $32,500, and will get $35,000 trade in value. Take the remaining $2,500 (may need to dip into your savings) and get an older, reliable car with this money. You get more of a deal if you pay cash so let them know this upfront. BAM. No more car payment. HELLO an extra $350 a month! Now put that towards your student loans.
Will your friends ‘oo and ah’ over your car? No. Will they un friend you? Not if they are decent people. And if they aren’t decent, let them go.
9. Stop being lazy and making excuses. Okay that’s kind of harsh. I didn’t mean it. It’s just that there is no easy way to get over your debt- just stop accepting it for what it is and start being proactive. There is no hand out. Start paying more than the minimum on your loans, pay off your credit cards every month and stop going out to eat. Stop shopping for a while. Make your own coffee at home. Combine trips to the store to save gas money.
10. Sign up for emails. I hate spam just as much as everyone, but I find that some things I am not willing to compromise on and need to buy brand name or splurge (hello my J Crew addiction). So if you know you love to shop somewhere sign up for their emails to get the latest deals and coupons!
Hint: Create a separate e-mail account just for these types of promotions. I love a good deal, but sometimes seeing the Sandals Resorts deals and not being able to book make me sad so it’s good to these to of my regular e-mail. Plus, this makes it less likely to loose something important in your big girl email.