For many of us, becoming debt-free is high on the list of New Year’s resolutions. It’s an important step in anyone’s personal evolution, as we look forward to moving up in life without the specter of debt hanging over our heads.
To ring in your new life as a debt-free individual, here are five strategies to help you get clear.
- Make a complete, comprehensive list.
You can’t go in without the master plan. First, make a list of everyone you owe, and how much. Include essential information like interest rates and minimums. Now that you have the total, assess. Is it really as much as you thought it would be?
Now, make a list of all your monthly expenses, minus those debts. Your rent, utilities, food, and any other necessities must be covered before you know what you can pay monthly. And this will determine how quickly you can be rid of the debt.
- Start cutting back.
It’s time to clip coupons, make your own coffee every morning, grab that side gig, and do all of your cooking at home. Money spent on recreation, like going to the movies, is out.
Try to deal mainly in cash, so you have a better idea of what you really have to your name. You may not be so eager to part with your money.
- Change your perspective.
Once you cut back, you’ll quickly find that other people are influencing your spending. Now’s a good time to think about who you socialize with, what your interests are, and even who you follow on social media.
You don’t have to live exactly how everyone else does. Despite the appearance of their lifestyle, everyone else has their own set of problems. Yours is debt, so keep your eye on being rid of that.
- Ask for what’s yours.
This can be tricky, but it’s well worth it. If someone owes you money, it’s time to consider asking them to pay up. Dedicate every penny of returned funds to your debt.
Also think about the salary or hourly wages you make at your job. How long have you been there, and how well are you doing? Make a list of all of your accomplishments, provide evidence of good performance, and use it as leverage to ask for a raise.
- Look into debt relief.
Perhaps you’re dealing with high interest rates, and you’re really not financially savvy. If you truly feel you can’t trust yourself to see this through, look into debt relief services. They can take a look at what you owe and help explain the best course of action, which may include consolidation.
It’s never easy, but with a period of increased discipline, you can do this. What will you do once the slate’s clean – buy a new house? Move to a new city? Further your education? The choice is yours, so move through this list and start dreaming big. This is your year to stop struggling and find true financial freedom by deleting your debt.