In my financial journey, I have learned that my choices control my results. It matters what you think and what you do. Here are 5 things I had to do differently to get out of debt.
#1 – I believed I could do hard things
I’ll never forget the day I made my last student loan payment. What felt even better was the next month…the month I didn’t have to send
If it was $50 or $300, I sent it. Sometimes I had to sacrifice and sometimes I didn’t miss it. Regardless, I stuck to my goal. I talk to a lot of people who simply don’t believe they can get out of debt. They accept debt like they accept food. I challenge you to see your circumstances differently. No matter how much debt you have, believe that you can pay it off AND you can do it before retirement!
#2 – Gave up my love affair with credit cards
This is a tough one. I received my first credit card in college and quickly learned to use credit as a way to have the lifestyle I wanted. This taught me how to
Think about it…if you’re constantly sending $300 or $500 a month to cover old vacations, shoes, eating out and the other crap we put on credit cards, then you could invest the same thing in a mutual fund or retirement account. Recently, I considered opening a secured credit card. In theory, secured cards limit your risk of creating a high credit card balance because you are charging against money you have deposited in the account, as opposed to a credit line from the issuer. After some thought, I quickly decided not to do it. I felt as if I was going back to an old boyfriend who was no longer attractive like when we first dated. HA!
#3 – Made sacrifices even when they weren’t necessary I think it’s easy to make sacrifices when there’s nothing at stake. It’s different when you have options and are still willing to give up what you want for a greater goal or purpose. There have been several moments in this journey when I could have decided
#4 – Paid extra on my debt routinely
Everyone knows you will never get out of debt by always paying the minimum payment. It’s the same as the least effort or just barely getting by. You’re rarely rewarded for giving the least. I had to start making extra payments. I threw bonuses, tax refunds, and anything that resembled extra pay at my debt. I think the minimum payment is why we stick and stay with debt so long. It is psychological that if I can make the minimum payment then I’m not really in over my head. This mindset must be changed. Quickly look for extra money that you can apply to debt right away.
#5 – Made a visual display of my debts About three years ago, my husband and I used a piece of posterboard to list our remaining debts at the time. I wrote on the top that we would pay off the debt over the next 12 months. And we did! I hung the poster in our closet so we would see it daily. As we paid off each one, I placed a line through it. I could feel power and victory with each payoff. Regardless of your finances, you have to be real about whatever debts you have. Resist the temptation to ignore it or to let it pile up in unopened mail. So go ahead and make a list of your debts either on a regular sheet of paper or on a poster board. Get serious about what you owe, and you’ll get serious about how to get rid of it. What are you willing to do differently to get rid of your debt? What can you change now to get started?
By the way, check out some of my other posts about debt: