5 “Dos” to Get Out of Debt
If you made a New Year’s Resolution to get out of debt, today’s a big day. By mid-January, most resolutions have fizzled. But — YOU can say, NOT TODAY. If you feel yourself slipping, take a minute for a pep talk, remind yourself that you can do this, and check out our post on goals that stick. Retool that resolution, and get back on the bandwagon, friend.
Wherever you are on your journey, making the choice to get out of debt is a game-changer. People tell us all the time that signing up on a GreenPath debt management plan and finally getting out of debt changed their lives. These 5 “dos” are helpful tips for getting out of debt.
1. Write Down Your Awesome, Attainable, Specific Goal to Get Rid of Debt
Make your roadmap with a clear, specific goal that you can measure and see your progress. The first thing to do is to start. Decide what you want to accomplish in a very specific term.
2. Write Your Debt Pay-Off Plan into a Monthly Budget
Get down to the nitty-gritty about how you will reach your goal. Use a budgeting worksheet to get started, or grab a calculator:
Optimize your budget for getting out of debt by reducing non-essential expenses. Things like home entertainment, meal planning, saving money on groceries, and reducing energy bills are good places to start.
3. Remix Your Spending Habits to Get Out of Debt Faster (and Save Money)
Take a look at where you spend your money and set a milestone goal to learn new habits that get you the most bang for your buck. The more you can free up from non-essential living expenses, the more you can devote to getting out of debt faster. And, the faster you pay off debt, the more money you save in interest and fees.
Figure out what your spending habits are, and how you might change them to get out of debt. The online class, Redesigning Your Financial Habits is a great place to start. In about half an hour, you will learn some of the science behind habits, identify your spending habits, and make a plan to retool them to work for you.
4. Bring Your Debt-Free Future to Life with Mental Practice
The simple act of imagining your future can help bring it about. Olympic athletes use this mental visualization technique to help them win. You can do it, too – for free – from your living room. Find a quiet spot, and imagine, in great detail, what it feels like to be debt-free. Use all your senses and emotions.
Building a vision board is a helpful way to give yourself a constant reminder of success. Gather items, sayings, photographs, whatever inspires you, that bring your debt-free future to life. Pin them up to the board and hang it in a place that you can see it every day.
5. Act on Your Debt Payment Plan, and Optimize as You Go
The biggest, most important thing is to take action.
Depending on your situation, there may be options for you to get out of debt more quickly. If you are having trouble keeping up with your bills and debt is keeping you up at night, our partners with GreenPath can help.
Adapted from an article distributed in partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness.