You are here:

Speak Over Yourself – I Will Be Debt Free By Janice Parker, Certified Consumer Credit Educator and Counselor

I’ve had several conversations with people over the years about eliminating their debt.

 

Janice ParkerWhile each of them were different ages and in different stages in their life with different kinds and amounts of debt, the common statement from each of them were, “I’m just not good with managing my money.” For some of them, this statement proved to be true on the surface, but for others, it was merely an easy out – an excuse to keep repeating the same behaviors without guilt or repercussions.

In the journey of eliminating debt, the truth is that everything you NEED to pay off your debt is already in your possession! I’m not speaking of the actual cash, as that comes with time. I’m talking about the tools and discipline it take to be intentional with your finances. Here are a few examples to help prove my point….

  • If you ever applied for and were hired for a job…you have what it takes.
  • If you’ve raised a child/ren….you have what it takes.
  • If you’ve ever completed any level of education…you have what it takes.
  • If you’ve remained in a marriage for more than a year…you have what it takes.
  • If you’ve ever studied for a test and passed it…..you have what it takes.
  • If you’ve accomplished a goal (health, spiritual, personal, business)…you have what it takes.
  • If you have ever learned to read (gotcha)….you have what it takes.

All of these accomplishments have nothing to do with money, right? WRONG. Each of these require a varying amount of disciple. If you’ve done any of them, you can pay off your debt. The tools required to succeed in any of the above categories are transferable. While they may remain dormant within you, they’re still there.

Debt can become an oppressive burden that has you ducking and dodging creditors’ phone calls and struggling to keep up with even the minimum payments each month and at times maybe even contemplating bankruptcy. If you’re overwhelmed by debt, you need to make some quick and perhaps drastic moves to have any hope of getting free.

With that being said, I also think you have all you need to accomplish other wonders in life, too. But here’s the thing, if you have all you need and continue to believe that “I’m just not good with managing my money,” or “I don’t make enough money to be concerned with my debt,” you’ll remain in the same state of financial bondage. Here are some tips to help you get started on becoming a “Debt Slayer.”

 

  1. Track and analyze spending. If you don’t know where all your hard-earned money goes, it is difficult to know how to begin making necessary changes.
  2. Develop a spending plan. Weigh true needs vs. wants, and spend accordingly. Prioritize and justify your spending. Be sure to continue the new and improved spending habits for the long-term.
  3. Yes, leave home without credit cards. Studies show that shoppers spend 33-34 percent more when making purchases with credit cards instead of cash.
  4. Pay off outstanding debts. Tackle these debts by prioritizing them. What debts have the highest rates? How many payments are left? Focus efforts on paying off one debt ahead of schedule, and then continue on to the next one.
  5. Save for a better future. The average American saves less than a dollar of every $100 earned. Find workable ways to begin saving now. It won’t be any easier to save tomorrow.
  6. Don’t spend impulsively. It’s the discretionary expenses that often get consumers into financial trouble. These include entertainment, recreation, vacations, discretionary clothing, eating out and other incidentals.
  7. Don’t create any new or unnecessary debt. Making minimum payments and adding more debt gets you nowhere. Resolve to wipe out debt.
  8. Don’t charge anything on your credit card that can’t be paid off at the end of the month. This eliminates interest on purchases.
  9. Don’t make financial promises you can’t keep. Remember that lenders expect borrowers and co-signers to keep their commitments to pay their loans and revolving debt.