If you’re like many Americans, you own one or two vehicles, have a mortgage and are saddled with unwanted debt. Who among us doesn’t like the finer things of life? But what if liking the finer things in life led you into a vicious cycle of debt that keeps rising and keeps your nose to the grindstone?
That newest trinket or gadget might make you feel better for a little while – or until you get your Visa bill. If you’re serious about eliminating your debt, then stop spending and start planning.
Make it a point to never shop just to make yourself feel better. Stress leads people to spend money in an attempt to relieve some of the life pressures they’re under. This is often referred to as emotional spending.
Sadly, emotional spending leads to more stress from having spent the money! When you’re upset, don’t look for answers in retail therapy and don’t shop to keep up with friends or family who can afford a higher lifestyle than you can.
If you can’t afford it with cash, don’t buy it. This will help stop credit card purchases and impulse buying. Carry a certain amount of cash with you and leave the ATM card at home – along with the credit cards.
To eliminate your debt, you need a plan. Using a notebook or ledger on a software program like Excel, and divide it into two sections. The first is for your living expenses such as your utilities, food, etc.
In the second section, make columns for debts and anything you spend money on such as entertainment, haircuts and so on. This will help you keep track of how and where your money is being spent each month.
Once you see where your money is going, take steps to eliminate unnecessary spending. While you’re cutting back, start putting any extra money that you’re saving toward paying off the existing debt.
Once you have it all paid off, don’t make the common mistake of recharging everything up again. This just puts you in the same bind and causes you more stress. There are many people who pay for everything (even cars and homes) in cash – and they no longer have the financial worries most consumers are burdened with.