Are you in debt? Without proper spending habits, this could be inevitable. Financial experts have maintained that debt isn’t always bad, as it could be a tool for financial growth. They say there is good and bad debt, and a debt is considered good when it is taken towards an asset like business expansion, education, housing etc. and it is considered bad when used for liabilities like cars, vacations etc.
However, this article is focused on your personal finances and other experts like Dave Ramsey have maintained that debt isn’t a tool to create prosperity and it isn’t used by wealthy people nearly as much as we are led to believe. “If you’re in debt, you don’t have the freedom to use your money the way you want. Debt creates enough risk to offset any possible advantage” Ramsey says.
Before we start with the tips, remember this : you are not alone in this and we’ve got tips to help you.
Here are 7 strategies to help you get out of debt
- Clearly define your priorities
You can do this by making a list, in order, from highest to lowest of all your priorities. Try to prioritize your debt as high as you can on your priorities list. Aside from the essentials of family and living expenses, consciously make getting out of debt the highest priority you can. It’s easier to focus on one goal at a time, so if you can, make getting out of debt your main goal that you’ll prioritize until you no longer owe.
- Focus on getting out
When you have too much going on, you can’t put enough energy and commitment into one thing. Try to minimize your focus on other things, and have laser focus on paying off your debt. One of the best life hacks is that what you focus on expands. If you focus on getting out of debt, you’ll make it happen.
- Stop unsupportive habits
Look carefully at what got you into debt in the first place and think about your habits when it comes to money. Stop doing anything that is unsupportive of your pay off plan. For example, if you’re in the habit of buying a coffee every morning, think about how that extra money would speed up your debt-pay-off-plan over time. Stop anything that doesn’t support your goal.
- Avoid your weakness
Avoid whatever it is that is your main weakness. Only you know exactly what this is. For some, it’s clothes and shoes or expensive trips. It will be different for you but do whatever you have to in order to avoid your weakness while you’re trying to pay off money owed.
- Know that every purchase counts
Begin thinking that every purchase counts, no matter how small it is. Pennies add up so much faster than you’d think. Your N1,000- N5,000 purchases can have a tremendous impact on your get out of debt plan. Don’t be tricked into thinking small purchases are insignificant.
- Delayed gratification is key
When you make a purchase because you “deserve it”, you’re supporting an entitlement attitude. Whether you deserve something has nothing to do with whether you can afford it. Start saying “no” to yourself at least once a day so that you are less likely to justify and spend because you think you deserve something.
- Constantly keep your vision and goal in mind
Every morning and every night say to yourself why you want to get out of debt and what getting out would make possible for you. This will be a constant reminder of your plan (keeping you focused), and it will set you up with a supportive mindset.
No matter how little or great it is, the age old trick of financial freedom is to always spend less than you earn and this works every time. Jay Z’s tip for spending comes to mind here: He said, “if you can’t buy something twice, you can’t afford to buy it”.