Are you tired of feeling like you’re stuck in a financial rut? Do you dream of a life where you’re not constantly worrying about money and being in debt? You’re not alone. This is the case for millions of people.
But what if I told you that you could get out of debt in 5 easy steps?
Even though it sounds too good to be true, it’s not. There are proven strategies you can use to get yourself out of debt and onto the path of financial freedom. And the best part? It doesn’t have to be a painful or difficult process.
By following these simple steps, you can transform your financial future in no time!
1. Look at your costs and figure out where you can save money
The first step to getting out of debt is to spend less money. Once you’ve figured out where you can save money, you can start making changes, even if they are small ones.
Do you really need that expensive coffee? Can you go out to eat less? Can you find ways to have fun that are cheap or free?
If you don’t know where to start, there are a few helpful tools that can help you figure out how much money you spend:
- Use a website or app to keep track of how much you spend and where your money goes. This can open your eyes and help you figure out where you can save money. Some popular options include Mint, YNAB, and Personal Capital.
- Books like Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin are great resources that can help you change how you feel about money. It tells you in detail how to keep track of your expenses and change the way you spend money.
- Download and customize a budget spreadsheet template, or if you prefer a more old-school approach, you can always use a notebook or journal to track your expenses manually.
2. Make a spending plan and stick to it
After figuring out where you can save money, make a budget. This will help you stay on top of tracking your spending and make sure you don’t spend too much. There are several ways to make a budget, but the envelope system is one of the easiest.
With this method, you will put a certain amount of cash into an envelope for each type of expense, such as housing, food, entertainment, etc. Once the money in the envelope is gone, you can’t spend any more money in that category until the next month. This system can be helpful because it lets you see where your money is going and keeps you from spending more than you need to.
You can also use software or a spreadsheet to keep track of your spending. This can take more time, but if you’re already on your phone or computer, it’s more productive and helpful than mindlessly scrolling through social media.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to stay within your budget. If you make a budget and then don’t stick to it, it won’t help you at all. So, make sure your budget is realistic.
3. Get extra money by doing side jobs or selling things you don’t use
There are many ways to make extra money and pay off your debts faster.
Side jobs like freelancing, pet sitting, and dog walking can be a great way to make extra money in your spare time. They don’t require extensive training or experience and cost nothing to start.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a bunch of unused items lying around your home that could be sold for some extra cash. Maybe it’s an old bike, a collection of vintage records, or kitchen gadgets you never use. Whatever it is, selling these items online or at local garage sales can be an easy and effective way to generate some quick money. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to declutter your home.
Related: 300+ New Side Hustle and Small Business Ideas
4. Talk to your creditors to lower your interest rates or monthly payments
If you’re having trouble making your monthly payments, talk to your creditors and try to negotiate a lower interest rate or smaller monthly payment. Creditors are usually willing to work with people who are having money problems, so it’s worth a try.
There are a few different ways to go about negotiating this deal. You can talk to a customer service rep or send a formal letter to your creditor. If you decide to call, make sure you have your account number and a clear idea of what you want to ask for before you pick up the phone.
If you decide to write a letter, start by giving a short summary of your current financial situation and why you can’t pay your bills. Be polite and respectful, and include any proof that might help your case. For example, if you’ve lost your job or had a medical emergency, include copies of the paperwork that proves it.
After you’ve told the creditor what’s going on, say what you want from them. Again, be specific and include any documents that back up your claim. Creditors are more likely to work with you if they can see that you’re really having trouble, so don’t be afraid to be honest about your finances.
At the end of your letter, thank the creditor for taking the time to read it and restate what you want. Make sure to keep a copy of the letter for your records and send it via certified mail so you have proof that it arrived.
If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating on your own, there are also many reputable companies that can help you settle your debts. Just make sure to do your research before choosing one because some companies have high fees and may not be able to get you the best deal.
Related: Debt Consolidation Loans Explained: 6 Things You Need to Know
5. Stay disciplined and motivated all the way through!
The last and most important step to getting out of debt is to stay disciplined and motivated all the way through. This can be hard, especially if you have had debt for a long time. But it’s important to stick to your plan and not give up.
You can help yourself stay on track by doing a few things. First, make sure you have a clear goal that you can reach. Writing down your goal and putting it somewhere you will see every day can help. This will help you remember why you’re working and keep you going.
Second, make and stick to a budget. This will help you keep track of what you spend and make sure you don’t spend too much. Tracking your progress will also show you how far you’ve come. Seeing the results of your hard work can help motivate you to keep going.
Lastly, take a look at the people around you. Do you have supportive friends and family that are positive influences? Is there anyone in your life who is also working to become debt-free or has overcome debt? Sharing your journey with others who understand your situation can be incredibly empowering and motivating.
Get Rid of Debt for Good
Becoming debt-free is a great goal, and if you work hard and stay on track, you can reach it. With these five steps, you should be able to get out of debt quickly. As long as you keep yourself motivated and follow your plan, you’ll be out of debt before you know it.
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This article originally appeared on mylifeiguess.com.
Image Credit: shisuka via Canva.com.
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.
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