Are you interested in getting out of debt and stopping the monthly payments you must make to your creditors? If so, you are in the company of about 75% of the population that has found themselves with more debt than they are comfortable with. There are certain steps that can be taken to eliminate the debt that you have and prevent you from accumulating more, which is the only way to truly realize debt freedom.
Step 1 Changing The Way You Think About Debt
In recent years, debt has become an acceptable way to get the things that you want quickly, instead of saving up for the items over time as our parents did and only purchasing the things that you can afford. This has translated into the highest level of consumer debt in history and millions of people across the nation filing for bankruptcy protection from crushing debt. In order to become debt free, you must begin to think of debt as something to be avoided at all cost and conduct your life accordingly.
Step 2 Stop Digging The Hole That You Are In
The biggest step in eliminating your debt is to stop creating more debt. You will never eliminate the pile of debt you have accumulated if you are adding to the total each month by purchasing more items. If you have credit cards, put them away somewhere that they are not easily accessible and stay away from the stores where you know that you always purchase more than you intended to.
Step 3 Make All Of Your Payments On Time
Nothing increases debt faster than penalty fees on an account and you are not receiving any benefits from the extra money that you are paying to the companies. Penalty fees assessed against an account for paying the bill late can range from $5 for the cable bill to $39 for a credit card bill. If you are being assessed numerous penalty fees on several different accounts each year, you could end up paying thousands of dollars extra to these companies in a very short period of time.
Step 4 Cut Out The Convenience Fees
There are many different things that people do without thinking that could be classified as a “convenience fee”, such as the $2.50 paid for the convenience of using an ATM that is not branded to your bank or the $4 paid for the convenience of purchasing a coffee instead of brewing your own at home. Over time, these convenience fees can add up to thousands of dollars that could have been saved by taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to do things for yourself or to plan ahead for the things that you will need throughout your day.
Step 5 Save Money For Emergency Expenses
One of the biggest reasons that people fall into debt and remain in debt is that they spend all of the money that they make and do not have a cushion to use in the event of an emergency. If you have no savings when an emergency financial situation arises, you are much more likely to charge the amount to your credit card, where you will pay up to 30% interest, or you will take out a payday loan, which charges 390% interest packaged to look like a fee and can trap you in a cycle of debt that may take months to release yourself from. By placing some money aside in a savings account, you can ensure that you will not have to use either of these options when a financial emergency arises.