For some weird reason, I always thought having debt was just another line item in my budget.
I always justified having the debt because I thought it was something normal to have. I would ask myself rhetorical questions like: “I’m pretty sure everyone else has high car payments? Everybody has credit card debt, right? Doesn’t everyone pay off their student loans off slowly? I think everybody puts the minimum down payment to purchase a home, or am I wrong?” I used money from credit cards as leverage, but not the way they teach you in school. I simply thought that if I could pay off the credit card debt in 3-6 months I could afford to put stuff on the card. I never thought not having a car note, just because I will probably always want a new car or an upgrade.
Little did I realize that I was falling into the trap of living paycheck to paycheck. I had already spent my play money months in advance. My cost of living continued to increase because I kept adding expenses that I thought were normal to add. Welp these are all mistakes we do without even realizing it. We have been brainwashed by the fact that getting some debt and putting little down was the normal way of living. This is how so many of us end up getting in high payments, deep into debt and on the road to bankruptcy. I don’t know about you guys, but bankruptcy scares the dog crap out of me.
I was so annoyed that I had been preaching these false money ideas to myself for so long. So I decided to get out of debt immediately. It can be hard to change your beliefs after that long with such debt life idea I had. Cut the money draining high-interest cord out of your life. Keeping this dirty laundry on your back doesn’t look any good, it can bring lots of turmoil. So this is what it takes to make good financial decisions. It is the smartest investment you can make for yourself and your family’s financial future.
Here are the 6 steps to get debt-free fast.
1. Review your budget
- Start cutting variable expenses
- Make debt payments a line item in your budget
- Put aside all the extra money to pay off debt (side hustle, bonus, part-time job)
2. Organize your whole debt
- Due dates
- Minimum payments
- Interest rates
- Set up smallest to largest loan
3. Evaluate if refinancing is good for you
- You can obtain low-interest rates through credit unions or small local banks
- Credit Karma and Mint have lists of banks and loan providers that refinance all types of loans
- Sofi has great ratings on student loans refi
- Discuss it with your loan provider, they might be able to set things up for you
- In case interest rates are higher, it may not work out
4. Set goals
- Example: Pay off small credit cards amounts first, then student loans, and finally car note
- Set a specific dollar amount towards paying off debt
- Set monthly goals to stay motivated
5. Get a side hustle
- There are so many companies that focus on side hustles: Uber/Lyft, Care.com, Upwork.com, and Airbnb
- Garage sale, Craigslist, Offer up
- Part-time job
6. Start paying down debt with the snowball strategy
- Pay the smallest loans first
- Pay the minimum on the rest of the loans
- Then use all the extra money to pay the bigger loans
- Or another option would be to pay down your loans considering their highest interest rate
Keep in mind that not all of these tips may be right for you. Personally, I have used a mix of these to truly get out of debt. I even had to reevaluate my goals several times because life goes on and getting out of debt has tremendous power on us. So push on and don’t let your old ways get into your new money mindset. This is for you and your financial future. This is the best investment you can do for yourself: Let go the heavy debt load and start living a debt-free new life.