How to Get Rid of Debt in 5 Simple Steps
Being in debt is no doubt a stressful experience. Unexpected circumstances may change our situation. Losing a job, getting in an accident, or increased obligations make it hard to repay a loan.
Sometimes being in debt is inevitable. While 30% of all workers in the United States are self-employed, these entrepreneurs often have to rely on debt to keep their businesses running.
On the other hand, debt may also be a result of uncontrolled spending or a mixture of the two. However, whether for personal or business use, debt can be debilitating. Implementing practical ways of how to become debt free is a good start.
Five Practical Ways to Become Debt Free
Make a Conscious Decision to Stop Borrowing Money
The best way to start getting rid of debt is to stop depending on debt and credit for funding your lifestyle. If you don’t have the cash to pay for something, simply don’t buy it, especially on credit. Make an affirmed decision to stop borrowing money. You can then focus on getting rid of the current debts you have.
Keep an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund helps you pay for emergencies when they do occur. Do not rely on credit cards as a major source of emergency funding. Preferably put an emergency fund of $1,000 or more, depending on your household expenses.
Create a Budget and Stick to It
A realistic budget is what you need to get out of debt. A budget helps you track your expenses and income. Moving towards your goal becomes much easier with controlled spending.
Organize Your Debt
List all your debts starting from the smallest to the largest. This helps you have a working plan towards getting rid of debt. Look at the debts with a higher interest rate. Strive to get rid of these first and then that extra money can snowball towards paying off your more substantial debts.
Throw Any Cash You Have at Debt
If you happen to handle any cash, throw it directly at your debts. Sources of this cash could be a tax refund, a sold item from clothes to a car, or extra side jobs.
Importance of Budgeting
Getting into debt is easy when we cannot or do not keep track of expenses. A budget will show you if you have a surplus or a deficit. It also helps you control your spending. With a strong budget in place, you only buy what you need.
You can use your surplus to pay off debts with larger interest rates. Talk to your financial advisor or even a trusted friend on how to create a realistic budget. You will get more tips on how to get rid of debt.
You can also find ways to earn extra cash in a month. This might include having to get a second job or working more hours.
A budget helps you reach your goal of getting rid of debt by forcing you to trim your expenses. Go over the list of items in a budget and eliminate any unnecessary expenditure. This could include canceling TV subscriptions, eating at home, and finding a cheaper phone plan.
If you are determined to stick to these five ways of how to get debt free, you will succeed.
Related: 189 clever ways to save money
When to Consider Debt Refinancing/Consolidation
Two of the most common options of tuning up your debts are refinancing or consolidation.
Refinancing is replacing your old debt(s) with a completely new loan. The goal here is to get a lower interest rate. Most students will consider refinancing their student loans, as long as all the debts are from government programs.
The latter means putting all debts into one single loan. This helps you avoid dealing with separate lenders. You will not be looking at different monthly and billing statements when they are all consolidated into one debt.
Use the loan calculator at Financer.com and compare 42 lenders who can offer debt refinancing with better terms.
Think about the following factors before refinancing or consolidating your debt:
- Has your credit report improved? This puts you in a favorable position with lenders. You can start a tangible process of getting rid of debt with a new lender offering better terms.
- Are the current interest rates low? You can take advantage of this situation by moving your variable rate to a fixed rate.
- Can you change your payment term? Dragging debt for a long time does not help you become debt free. If you have an increased salary, pay off the debt within the shortest time possible.
How to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt
Accumulated credit cards are often the reason we sink deeper into debt. They encourage uncontrolled spending.
Gather all your credit card statements to figure out what you owe. Note all the balances and interest rates from each card you owe. Below are some ideas on how you can free up some cash towards credit card debt repayment.
- Use cash until your bill is paid off. Avoid continued use of the credit card.
- Consolidate all your cards to a card with a lower interest rate.
- Calculate how long it will take to pay off the debt on your credit card.
Other Good Habits on Getting Rid of Debt for Free
- Have an automatic savings account
- Pay bills on time to avoid penalties and accrued rates.
- Take a shopping list with you when you go shopping. This will help you avoid impulse buying
- Track and record all expenses.
- Freeze credit cards
- Live on less than what you make. Do not exceed your income when spending money.
These small habits will help you succeed on the journey of a debt-free life. It may take a long time to clear all your debts, however, being focused on your goal is the most important thing.