Do you dream of living without the burden of excessive debt hanging over your head? It’s possible, but not easy. Living debt free requires financial discipline, all the time. To become debt free and maintain a debt free life, try the following three steps:
1. Get rid of existing debt. This is obviously your first step to living a debt free lifestyle. Cut up any credit cards that you currently have in your wallet, purse, or desk drawer and do not apply for or accept any other cards. Pay your bills on time, sending as much as possible to one account while paying the minimum due on all of your other accounts until the account is paid off. Do this until all of your debt has been paid off.
2. Create a budget. Every single person who lives without debt has a financial budget and follows it. Without budgeting for expenses and incidentals, people overspend on unnecessary items and then when things just “happen” unexpectedly, (otherwise known as unplanned for expenses) these individuals rely on credit cards to make ends meet. Make a list of every monthly expense you can think of. Then, make another list of every incidental expense that you pay throughout the year but not necessarily on a monthly basis. If you usually get 3 oil changes a year at $20 a piece, you need to plan for $60 a year for oil changes, which is the equivalent of $5 per month. Once you have a comprehensive list, subtract your total monthly expenses from your total monthly income and see what is left over. Be sure you include savings accounts in your “expenses”. Pay yourself first is a good rule to live by. If there is still money left over, congratulations! Use it to pay more on each individual account until everything is fully paid off, or invest in IRA, 401K’s, or even a money market account with high interest rates to help your money earn more money.
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