Saturday, June 7

Time To Get Debt Free

Paying the BillsWhen you think about becoming debt free do these ideas come to mind? Insurmountable, herculean, titanic, hopeless, or perhaps even impossible?

These are some of the thoughts that can stand in the way of eliminating debt. Other concepts, perhaps such as deprivation, are also wandering around threatening to make an appearance.

How on earth can mere mortals tackle problems of this scope?

If you have given up, or don't think it's possible, then don't bother worrying about the concept of eliminating debt right now. Just take a few steps towards managing your money more effectively. This slight of mind is a simple trick but that doesn't mean it won't help.

Here is a short checklist you should keep in mind:

- Develop a budget.
- Increase your income.
- Reduce your expenditures.

See, that's pretty easy isn't it?

Developing a budget and looking for ways to save money are the easy parts. You can find all kinds of advice in this blog and elsewhere on the Internet. The task of increasing your income is much more complicated and can take a lot of time to achieve.

Some ways to increase your income include:

- work additional hours.
- take a second job.
- convince your employer to promote you.
- apply for higher paying jobs elsewhere.
- acquire training to qualify for different jobs.
- complete your formal education.

Additional things to consider include soft skills:

- do you have a professional attitude?
- are you a team player?
- do you work well with others?
- are you a hard worker?
- are you punctual?
- can others rely on you?

Be honest with yourself. We all have areas that we can improve upon. Remember that while you feel you might deserve a better job, nobody will promote you until you demonstrate that you can do a better job.

Other income ideas might include:

- convert a hobby or skill into an income.
- offer casual labor or temporary work.
- long term savings and investment.
- accept family contributions towards family expenses.
- sublet a room or parking space.

So where does this leave us? On the road to being debt free! All it takes is some discipline to avoid incurring more debt while at the same time working to ensure that your income exceeds your expenses. If you can get to that point, then being debt free is only a matter of time.

Excepting a mortgage, I'm planning on becoming debt free over the next two years. Anyone care to join me on this quest?

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18 comments:

rosiegirl said...

This spring I decided to make a number of very significant changes in my life, including becoming serious about my money. I also have committed to a goal of being debt free within two years, with the exception of my mortgage. While paying off everything, I am also saving money as I wish to have the equivalent of three months salary. Sticking to a budget can be tough and there are times that I have strayed from the budget, but even when this happens I look at as a learning experince. I wish you well on your journey. Here's to saving.

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Rosie, thanks for the note.

I have to confess that I had been financially flippant for most of my life before being steered towards frugality.

I'm very motivated to get all my ducks in a row... ;)

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are down to the mortgage, and a car payment. We found the best way to stick to your budget is to bring home every single receipt. at the end of the week add it to the monthly spread sheet, and yes we have a wawa category, along with any other leisurely expense. When you see that buying a cup of coffee, and stopping at the convenience store for milk, etc and so forth can add up to often more than $100.00 a month. You quickly get a handle on where your money is going. So first I recommend finding out where you really spend you money, you might be surprised at how much you can change your habits.

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Anon, I'd have to agree.

Getting a handle on your expenses and developing a comprehensive budget that includes "those hidden little things" is an important process.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas. You should give it 6 monthes before getting a mortgage. The companies are all in turmoil with the Foreclosure crisis and they have become corrupted. Good luck. Another thing you might add is we must always only get what we need. I donated to charity but, I believe that will come back to me due to kharma. I made a $100.00 contribution to help children. That is a great deal of money to me but, it makes me feel good inside and helps a great cause. It is tax-deductible too.

John said...

One of the important things in becoming debt free is keeping track of where you are at any point in time. I'm talking about how much debt you have. I have a spreadsheet that lists all of my debts, with a grand total. The great thing is, I can see that grand total going down gradually. That is a real motivator.

John // spendingless101.com

The J Clan said...

we're already on the path...we were steered there by Dave Ramsey's plan and have hacked through about half of our debt in a year. We have about 12-18 months left to go!

Glad to see there are other people out there just as crazy as we are!!!

Courtney McLaughlin said...

Hello!
If anybody is looking for some inventive ideas on how to make your house more beautiful while saving money, read "The Little Book of Thrifty Fixes for the Home" by Bridget Bodoano. She recommends using maps for wallpaper (I have seen this at a teahouse near my home and it looks really cool) and tablecloths or sheets as curtains. Curtain shopping is always a nightmare because they're sooo expensive and ugly, but after reading the book I'm excited to go shopping for sheets to hang in my windows!

The Foreclosure Doctor Support said...

Wow! What an inspirational and informative blog post. I really enjoyed it. Indeed, especially in these difficult financial times. We need to examine our finances and discover how we can live debt free. I noticed you post quite regularly and you are quite liberal in giving lots of information. I would like to stay linked to your site. I have a site located at http://foreclosuredoctonline.com designed to help people who are in foreclosure. Your information would be of vital and of great value to my readers.

Sincerely,

The Foreclosure Doctor Support

credit savvy said...

very good for u rosie can u keep disciplined

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Chris P said...

I am here to say that this is possible! My wife and I are just about to make our final mortgage payment and we will (I will) be 100% debt free for the first time in a long time. Since the mid 1980's when was in highschool.

Anonymous said...

Every dollar you give to someone else is a part your freedom that you are selling. Once you realize this is happening you start to ask yourself "is what I'm about to purchase worth a piece of my freedom?". For things like food, shelter, and transportation the answer is easy. When this question is internalized it makes it easier to make decisions about money.

Wealth is created and accumlated over time with great effort. Everyone has the capacity to create their own wealth and security. Where people fail is they do not prepare and do not ask the right questions. We are the accumlation of all our decision in our lives. So each decision you make try to make it better than your last.

TheMerryCouponQueen said...

I would LOVE to be debt free! My biggest obstacle is my husband, who says he wants to be debt free but is doing little to work toward that goal. :(

Melinda Gustafson Gervasi said...

Great Goal! In 2001 I graduated from 9 years of school (undergrad, grad, and law) with $97,000 in student debt. Determined to live free of debt payments, I committed myself to paying off Great Lakes Higher Education. And in 2006 I did just that! No, I did not work in some high-paying law firm. During that time I worked for a state agency. I did a variety of things to reach my goal, but the most important thing was asking myself "do I really want to spend this money now, or put it towards my debt?" Nine times out of ten I put the money back in my wallet. Good luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

What about the people who's income it too low in this poor economy?? They are losing jobs, homes and are starving. They ask me every day for money and advice. Please anyone help. These are human beings ending up homeless. Where are the JOBS?????

Anonymous said...

I love www.whatsthecost.com. It has really helped us prioritize paying down our debt and given us a plan! We've stuck with it since January and have 2 credit cards paid off and another will be paid off by the end of they year! Before trying the "snowballing" technique on this website we were just aimlessly making payments with extra paid here and there...now we are on a super paydown plan and it's working! I can definitely see light at the end of the tunnel now!

Penny Pincher said...

Good luck on your journey!
I'm not sure which is tougher, sticking to a diet or a budget!? I believe the key is to hop right back on the wagon as soon as/if you fall off.
I hope to join you in being debt free in 2 yrs as well. I just dusted off our old coffee pot, so my husband can skip his $8.00 fancy coffee habit..that's $400/yr! Hopefully, he'll stick to it. It's tough being a saver, living with a spender. ;)

Anonymous said...

I too have been spending more time watching where the money goes. I have a pretty elaborate spreadsheet tracking expenses and debt balances. I have rented out 3 rooms of my house, and have my own side business, which helps with taxes. I am going back to school and am well on my way to having only a mortgage payment in 9- 12 months. I love the site and everyone's tips. www.smartcookies.com is a good site as well. I found it after I had my existing budget but before I really got involved in setting goals for repayment. It helped me to take the next step.