Debt is crushing us. It crushed me for a long time.
Getting out of debt is one of the most important financial priorities anyone can have and becoming debt-free is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
If you’re in debt, odds are you feel like you’re out of control, drowning, falling, or that the walls are closing in on you. When I was in debt and feeling out of control, I’d have nightmares about being in a speeding car without breaks, unable to stop. I’d wake up at the foot of the bed in a panic because in the dream, I’d be on the floor of the car trying to push the brake with my hands. Not a happy place to be.
Here’s the good news: You can get out of debt.
I did it, others do it everyday, and it can change your life. Let me tell you what worked for me.
Area #1 – Know your facts
Not enough of us know our cash flow. We don’t know how much money we have coming in every month in the form of income and we don’t know how much we have going out every month in the form of expenses.
- Go through the last six months of your spending. You’re looking for things that should no longer be there. All too often, we buy or sign up for things, stop using them, but keep paying for them. Are you spending money on stuff you don’t use anymore?
- Get a budget. Without parameters on your spending (which is what a budget gives you), you’ll spend all your money and there won’t be any left over at the end of the month for debt repayment, saving, and investing.
Area #2 – Start spending how successful people spend
- I suggested the 50/20/30 budget guide because many successful people follow it with success.
- The “50” in the 50/20/30 is for “needs.” Broadly, 50% of your take home pay should be dedicated to things you literally can’t live without. In this category you’ll find housing, transportation, and food. These are the three areas that commonly derail people financially because they’re spending too much. We spend way too much money on cars, we buy too much house, and we blow money eating out. The only way for you to know if you’re stuck in this trap is to go through the exercise of doing your budget.
- While I can’t guarantee that bringing your spending into the parameters of this budget guide will make you successful, I assure you not doing so will keep you broke.
Area #3 – Get your head right
How you look at everything makes all the difference. Put another way, your perspective on this will propel you to success or it will keep you trapped in debt.
- Make tough choices: Get rid of your expensive car. Live in a smaller house, apartment, or move to a different neighborhood. Eat at home and bring lunch to work instead of going out all the time. With the right attitude, you’ll do what needs to be done.
- Keep perspective. This isn’t forever. I’m not saying you need to cut out all awesome stuff for the rest of your life and that you’re going to live a spartan lifestyle moving forward. No. I’m saying that if you’re serious about getting out of debt, you’ll need to cut back for a while and the three areas I highlighted will help you make it happen.
You are someone who is capable of getting out of debt and getting on the path to financial success.
As always, I encourage you to talk with someone about this. Talk to a friend, coworker, or your favorite cousin. Don’t feel like doing that? Get info on financial coaching and hop on a call. As always, ask us anything. Got a question, ask it here. We answer all of them.
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