Monthly Archives: April 2008

Debt Reduction Guide: Staying The Course

No Credit Needed Debt Reduction Guide

Section Four: Staying The Course

Look For Opportunities To Earn Extra Income

As you move forward, you’ll begin to get excited about getting out of debt. Now is the time to look for ways to supplement your income. Consider getting a part-time job. Look through your closets for items you can sell on eBay or Craigslist. Have a yard sale (or two). Take advantage of you talents and look for new ways to use them.

Learn To Celebrate Your Victories

When you pay off your first credit account, take some time to savor the moment. If you are married, schedule a special dinner with your spouse. You don’t have to spend money in order to celebrate! Simply take an afternoon off and read your favorite book or spend some time listening to your favorite album. If you have an accountability partner or good friend, share your news with them. Getting out of debt is a big deal, and you should feel good about your progress.

Start Over

Have you stopped following your debt reduction plan? Are you discouraged? Have you had emergencies or unplanned expenses, which have hampered your progress? We all face challenges and obstacles. Take a few deep breaths, gather your thoughts, and start over. Take a look at your calendar and block out a few hours for yourself. Sit down, reevaluate your plan, and get ready to move forward. Remember, it took time to get into debt and it’s going to take time to get out.

Thank you for reading the No Credit Needed Debt Reduction Guide.

You have been reading Section Four: Staying The Course.

Please bookmark this page or subscribe to the No Credit Needed RSS Feed to insure that you receive all sections:

Section One: Getting Started

Section Two: Moving Beyond The Basics

Section Three: Preparing For Freedom

Section Four: Staying The Course

Section Five: Planning For The Future

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New Theme For No Credit Needed

For those of you who are visiting via the web, you’ll notice that I have made some pretty major changes to the look and feel of No Credit Needed. My old theme isn’t compatible with the latest version of WordPress (the software that I use to manage my websites). I hope that the new theme will make things easier to find. If you have any comments about the theme, I’d love to read them. Thanks for your patience, as I work out the bugs over the next few days. The update to the site will not affect my posting schedule.

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The Mirror, The Magnifying Glass, And The Mountain Top

The Mirror -

The mirror serves two purposes. It reveals and it guides. As you look in a mirror, you see yourself, as you you really are. And, if you choose, you can use the mirror as a guide, to make changes to your appearance.

Have you taken a look in the ‘mirror’ lately? Are you dealing with your personal financial realities, or are you averting your eyes? I spent years, ignoring the reality of my financial situation. But, three years ago, I decided to take a good long look at myself, and my finances, and I really didn’t like what I saw. So, I decided to do something about ‘my look’. I decided to make some major changes. I decided to live on a budget, reduce my debt, invest in my future, and talk to my wife about money.

The Magnifying Glass -

Focus. Address. Buckle down. Concentrate. Dedicate. Direct. Condense. Boil Down. Center. Pay Attention. Notice.

The magnifying glass allows us to block out all other distractions, and focus our attention on the smallest of small details. If you are ready to get out of debt and change your financial future, you need to learn how to focus, to pay attention, to buckle down, and to concentrate on the small, important details associated with money management.

I learned to focus, every day, on the important decisions that can and do affect my family and our finances. By creating goals, I have learned to concentrate my efforts and pay attention to details. I cannot tell you how important it is to create a specific, achievable goal, and to focus all of your efforts towards achieving that goal.

The Mountain Top -

It only takes a few minutes, each day, of staring into the mirror, to get my hair combed and my tie straight. And, just a few more minutes to tie my shoes, check the lock on the door, and I’m ready for my day. As I get in my car, my mind isn’t on ‘how to turn the key’ or ‘how to shift the transmission’. No, my mind focuses on my destination – where I want to go.

The mountain top is our goal. We want financial independence – the ability to enjoy our retirement and to bless our children and others. So, while the mirror and the magnifying glass are important, they are simply tools, which help us plan for our ultimate destination, the mountain top.

I have big, big dreams. I dream of changing my entire family tree, for several generations to come. I dream of blessing my friends and family members, with financial blessings. I dream of helping others and giving my wife anything should could want. I dream of the mountain top. I know that I must deal with today’s reality and with today’s details, but I am always dreaming of tomorrow’s rewards. The work that I put in to day – the seeds I plant – will one day reap great rewards.

You are worth it. You are worth fifteen minutes in front of the ‘financial mirror’. You are worth two hours a week, taking the time to pour over your budget and your bills. You are worth the effort, because your effort will bring about a wonderful, blessed future – for yourself, your family, and for those about whom you care.

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Debt Reduction Guide: Preparing For Freedom

No Credit Needed Debt Reduction Guide

Section Three: Preparing For Freedom

Build A Substantial Emergency Fund

After getting out of debt, you next goal will be to stay out of debt. To that end, consider creating and funding a substantial emergency fund. The exact amount that you will want to keep in your emergency fund will vary, according to the number of people in your family, but a good rule of thumb is to try to maintain an account with enough money to cover three to six months of expenses.

  • Open an account – online or at your local bank – for you emergency fund. Personally, I prefer an online savings account, but you could choose a money market account through your local bank or just a simple interest bearing checking account. The primary purpose for this account is to ‘hold’ your money, in a safe place, until it is needed. Money inside your emergency fund should be set aside for emergencies and should not be invested in stocks or mutual funds.
  • Use the same techniques that you used for debt reduction, only use them to pay yourself. Send as many payments as you can, as soon as you can send them, to your savings account and rapidly build your emergency fund. Use online transfers to automate the process.

Fund Various Retirement Accounts

There are so many different types of retirement accounts. Most employers offer 401k plans or 403b plans, many government employees are eligible for pension plans, and most wage earners are eligible to invest in Roth IRAs or Traditional IRAs. Research is your friend. Find out which types of accounts are available to you and your spouse and then begin to fund them. The suggestions for what percentage of income to invest in retirement vary. Personally, I invest maximum amounts in my 403b, Roth IRA, and SEP-IRA. My wife invests maximum amounts in her pension plan and a Roth IRA. Our contributions amount to a substantial portion of our gross incomes, but our long-term goal is to live debt free and without borrowing money.

Thank you for reading the No Credit Needed Debt Reduction Guide.

You have been reading Section Three: Preparing For Freedom.

Please bookmark this page or subscribe to the No Credit Needed RSS Feed to insure that you receive all sections:

Section One: Getting Started

Section Two: Moving Beyond The Basics

Section Three: Preparing For Freedom

Section Four: Staying The Course

Section Five: Planning For The Future

Continue Reading