Are you ready to get out of debt? Run through these suggestions and you’ll be better prepared to start your journey.
Admit your past mistakes – and work to correct them.
Let’s face facts – we’ve all made poor financial decisions. It really doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. What really matters is what you do today (and what you plan to do tomorrow). Make a list of your current debts – ALL of them – and create a plan to pay them off.
Balance your checkbook – and find out how much money you actually have.
How much money do you have in your checking account? How about your savings account? I cannot overstate the importance of organized, accessible, reliable financial records. You need to know how much money you have – right now – so that you can begin to get out of debt and change your future.
Commit to change – and send in an extra payment, right now.
If you are serious about getting out of debt, I challenge you to send an extra payment to one of your creditors, right now. Seriously, log-in to your checking account or grab your checkbook, and make an extra payment. If you can only make a payment of $1, that’s $1 of debt that will be gone, forever.
Decide to be different – and refuse to back up.
If you stop using your credit cards (and forgo those wonderful rewards points), if you stop buying new cars (and miss out on that awesome zero percent financing) and if you keep your old television (and miss out on 90 days, same-as-cash) – your friends and family will begin to think that you are nuts. Guess what? GOOD! Being ‘normal’ is being ‘broke’ – and being ‘broke’ is being ‘normal’. I don’t care how ‘good’ the deal is. If you don’t have the money, don’t make the deal. Challenge yourself to stick to your convictions and refuse to be moved by the comments of friends and family. (Also, don’t be surprised when, in two or three years, they start coming to YOU for advice!)
Enjoy the process – and learn from your missteps.
Getting out of debt takes time, money, and discipline. Learn to enjoy the simplicity of living without credit cards. Focus on small victories and celebrate every dollar that you payoff. Continually remind yourself of the long-term benefits of being debt free. If you make a mistake, take a mental-note, and move on. Remember, once you get out of debt, you will join a select group of human beings who are free from the burden of payments.