5 Top Tips to Get Out of Debt and Stay out of Debt
Live Under Your Means. Too many people live in a way that says: “I have a bunch of money!” For example, they make $5,000 a month but they live like they make $6,000. Continually living pay check to pay check and/or using a credit card monthly. If you make $5,000 a month you should be living like you make $4,000 (or less) so that you are able to put more money toward your debt! If you always live within your means you won’t pay off your debt because you won’t have any left over. Remember, like Dave Ramsey said, “live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.”
Enjoy The Free Things In Life.There are many things enjoyable to do that are free! Find out something that your family loves to do together that costs nothing! Not sure? Just check on-line! Or check out books like this one! (only $2.99 on kindle!) Or type into google: “free things to do in….” (and type in your city). Get your family used to the idea that you aren’t going to go to movies, or sporting events or special beauty treatments etc. Get your family excited about paying debt off! Some day you will have more money (because you won’t be throwing it at your debt) to do things but for now the excitement needs to be found in free things!
Stay Home.What’s the cheapest thing to do? Stay home! Eat at home! Play at home! Laugh at home! Every time you go somewhere you are putting more wear and tear on your vehicle. Every time you go somewhere you are going to be filling up your gas tank sooner. Every time you go somewhere you are spending money some way. Create a home where your children like to be. Do things together as a family. My husband purposefully sets aside time each night where we just sit and visit. Relationship is key! When your children feel connected to you and each other they are more likely to want to stay home. When they feel like family time revolves around a television screen they are more likely to feel connected to the television, not their family. Look for ways to connect as a family. I knew one family that made Friday night: Family Game night. Another family had Friday night be a stay in night where they made pizza and just hung out as a family. One of the main ways to make home enjoyable is to have a good relationship with your spouse! A home filled with fighting is a place no one wants to be! Look for ways to make peace not war. Remember Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath…” Make home a place people want to stay, not run away from. Home=Money Saver.
Keep The End In Mind. It’s hard living like no one else. I get it. I was there for years. We paid off our mortgage about 4 years ago. The first 7 years of our marriage we lived like “crazy people” looking for every little way to save money, but we kept the end in mind. We dreamt of what it would be like to live debt free. No more bills (aside from the obvious like water, garbage etc.). The extra money we would have in savings at all times. The feeling of never having to “stop buying groceries this month”. The feeling of knowing that we were going to put more toward retirement and be able to give more. There are just so many liberties and joys that come from being debt free that we reminded ourselves: no item or trip or meal was worth giving that future feeling up.
Put ALL Money Toward Debt. Tax return? Put it toward your debt. Christmas cash? Put it toward your debt. Birthday cash? Put it toward your debt. Earn a little extra money on the side? Put it toward your debt. When my mom died I inherited some money and put it ALL toward our mortgage. You get the point. When you get money put it toward the absolute necessities like food and put the rest toward debt.
BONUS TIP FOR WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF DEBT
When out of debt, pretend you are in debt. Ok, maybe not quite like you’re still in debt… but close! Just because we are out of debt doesn’t mean we go crazy with our money now buying whatever we want, whenever we want! Nope. We seriously consider purchases. We still talk about almost all purchases together that aren’t food. We still don’t buy new stuff. We still look continually for ways to save. Getting out of debt has freed us to spend money on things we may not have before, like my husband’s books! (Yes, it costs money to write a good book). The goal is to be debt free for life, not in and out of debt!
How about you? What are your top “get out of debt tips”?!
My husband, Scott LaPierre, is the pastor of Woodland Christian Church and the author of Marriage God's Way: A Biblical Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships. We have six wonderful children.
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