If you’re seriously interested in debt free living, you have to commit firmly to one thing: You can’t buy whatever you want, whenever you want it. You have to wait until you have money in hand to make purchases.
Additionally, you have to save as much as you can for unexpected situations and you have to do without a few of life’s so-called finer things altogether.
Don’t worry though. A debt-free life is one with no worries about the consequences of missed payments, no money wasted on interest and fees and nothing hanging over your head threatening to ruin your financial future.
Debt free living means different things to different people. To some, it means no mortgage, no house payment and no credit cards. To others it means simply no long-term credit card debt, but they may have house and car payments and use credit cards that they pay off every month so they can gain rewards or points.
Here are some things you can do to move yourself steadily closer to a debt-free lifestyle:
First, take stock of where you are. Decide which of your debts are expensive and don’t serve you well. That almost always includes credit cards, but it could also include high-interest car loans and other consumer loans. Do everything you can to pay off this “bad” debt first or at least renegotiate the terms so they aren’t as oppressive for you.
Second, avoid using credit cards in the future. While some people can successfully manage credit card accounts and take full advantage of the protections and rewards they often, many of us can’t. To make sure a credit card balance never builds up for you, simply avoid credit cards altogether.
Third, keep track of your cash. Many of us lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in cash each year on small purchases at coffee shops, convenience stores and fast-food restaurants. Cutting impulse purchases and eliminating some of your weekly treats can save you a bundle that you can put toward better causes.
Fourth, save for unexpected expenses. An unexpected car repair that has to go on a credit card or an uncovered medical bill can derail an otherwise relatively stable financial situation. Creating an emergency account and keeping it well stocked can help keep unexpected issues from becoming burdensome debts.
Fifth, save for retirement too. As you free up more of the income that once went to servicing debt, you can save more for the future. There will be a day when you don’t want to work anymore.
Finally, consider a side job or project to pay off existing debts. To get rid of pesky and tiresome debts that remain despite your best efforts, take a second job for a few months, start an eBay store or offer some professional services to the public. You’ll feel better when the debt is gone, and then you can decide whether the side project is worth continuing.
The Book Debt-Free Living
Larry Burkett’s book Debt Free Living — available from Amazon — takes a Christian approach to getting out of debt. This bestselling guide speaks out against credit and shows families how to get out of the debt problems that plague them throughout life.
Breaking the debt cycle is important, but understanding that it starts with determining the origin of your financial problems is crucial. With financial problems cited as a common reason for divorce, settling financial issues quickly and efficiently is important to maintaining a strong family. Burkett shows in the book how debt need not end an otherwise great relationship.
Should you own your own home or rent? Is borrowing against Biblical principles? When is filing bankruptcy a good idea? Debt-Free Living answers these questions and hundreds of others in simple, direct language.
One More Thought
You deserve whatever kind of life you want, but to have it, you may have to rid yourself of some of life’s weighty matters that are holding you down. Debt is one of those things that threatens to derail many otherwise grand lives.
Debt free living is possible. To find out for yourself how great it can be, follow the advice in this article and consider purchasing Burkett’s book too. You deserve an even better life than you have now, and ridding yourself of debt could be the key to getting it.