This blog post is part of the Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) blog tour, sponsored by US Equity Advantage. PDMD is a solution that accelerates debt payoff and helps consumers monitor their credit and make smarter purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to pay off debt find out how they can help.
Today would have been my grandpa’s 97th birthday. My grandpa was an awesome guy, and I loved him SO much. He worked hard, raised eight kids with ethical standards and treated my grandma and the rest of our family well. I have tons of respect for my grandpa. He and I were buds, for sure. I loved spending time with him. One of my fave grandpa memories was when we would take him out to eat at the local pancake house and he would order liver and onions. We’d always say, “Grandpa! You’re at the PANCAKE HOUSE! Blueberry, strawberry, chocolate chip – they’ll give you any kind of pancakes you want! Why are you ordering liver and onions, of all things?” But the meal brought back fond memories for him, growing up as one of twelve kids of a police officer and doting stay-at-home-mom during the Great Depression.
My grandpa’s one glaring fault was that he never managed his money very well. He and grandma were always broke. As far back as I can remember they struggled for everything. Their kids often gave them money for birthdays and Christmases or bought a new appliance if one broke, paid to get their very old house repaired or just gave them money for food.
As with much of the family bloodline, I too always struggled with money. I thought we just didn’t make enough but the truth of the matter was that we didn’t manage what we made well at all.Not understanding that our money situation was in our control, my husband and I got into loads of debt (can you say “65% DTI”?) and struggled big time with paycheck to paycheck living.
It wasn’t until we discovered personal finance blogs in a desperate search for a handle on our money problems (we were googling “how to get out of debt”) that I learned that our money problems were indeed largely in our control.
We are now well on our way to debt freedom and from there will work toward financial independence. Our journey hasn’t been easy. Getting out of debt – especially if you have a lot of it – takes time, education and patience, but there are a few things you can do to make it happen faster.
What’s the Big Deal About Having Debt?
You might be telling yourself the normal excuses people tell themselves when it comes to your debt: What’s the big deal with my debt? I make my payments on time and can afford them. I’m not as bad as most people. This is just the way people live now.
I know. I’ve heard every excuse and I’ve used most of them myself.
But the fact of the matter is that if you are in debt you are short-changing your present and your future. You see, financial freedom provides you with choices. Choices such as:
- Buying a new car if your old one dies instead of being forced to make it hobble along for a little while longer
- Moving to a different job if you are unhappy in your current one
- Having enough in savings to make it through unexpected financial impacts such as major house repairs or job layoffs
- Being able to take vacations when you need and/or want to
- Having the ability to survive and thrive in a during an economic downturn
Often times people get so used to living in debt that they just don’t realize what peace it is to live without debt. Now that we have money in savings and a dwindling debt load we sleep better at night. Car repairs and house repairs, they don’t stress us out anymore. Medical bills are easily handled. And probably the best thing: when we see someone in need we have the freedom and the ability to give financial help. I can’t tell you how good that feels.
Moreover, a life without debt means you won’t be a burden to your children. They can focus on supporting their own families and you can focus on being a blessing to your kids and grandkids because you’re not struggling yourself. When you have no debt and a plush savings, your life possibilities are endless.
The reason you should work quickly to get out of debt is because you deserve a better life; one where your decisions aren’t influenced by your ability to pay your debt payments. Are you ready? Here’s how you can get rid of your debt quickly.
Challenge Every Expense
The first thing you need to do to get your debt paid off quickly is to start budgeting and spend-tracking. These are vital keys to getting out of debt. Once you’re budgeting, take the time to go through every single line item on your budget and ask yourself “How can I eliminate or reduce this expense?” You will be amazed and how quickly you can cut costs.
A few calls to insurance companies can result in a lower insurance rate. Choosing to work out at home instead of paying for a gym membership can save more cash. Cutting restaurant meals down to once or twice a month will save you tons. Choosing a less expensive cell phone service provider can save you hundreds of dollars each month. We switched to Republic Wireless two years ago, are paying under $20 a month for phone service (with data) and couldn’t be happier.
You see, the lower your expenses are, the more extra money you’ll have to put toward debt.That’s your next step.
Throw All Extra Money Toward Debt
Got a tax refund coming? Don’t blow it on stupid stuff that will only bring you joy for five seconds; put it toward paying of your debt and invest in financial peace.
Work overtime at your current job or do some serious side hustling and put all of the extra cash toward debt.
Use a service such as Pay Down My Debt, Pay Down My Debt is an awesome service that helps you set up smaller but more frequent payments to your creditors, which results in you paying less interest and paying down your debt faster. PDMD can be used with any type of loan or credit card, including your mortgage.
Sell stuff you no longer need or want, and put the extra cash toward debt. Get rid of the toys, electronic gadgets, clothing and accessories that caused your debt in the first place, and take back your financial freedom.
Consolidate high interest loans to lower interest loans to save money on interest. We used Sofi to consolidate our high interest debt and have been extremely happy with the rate we received and with the great customer service. They were super easy to use, we had our cash within 48 hours and are now paying off our debt faster thanks to them.
Simultaneously Save Money
We have found – after much trial and error – that simultaneously saving money from each paycheck as we pay off our debt has helped us not only to develop a habit of saving (and leaving it there), it’s helped us beef up our emergency fund and have the cash to cover any high expense months or unexpected costs.
If you’re in a seriously tight debt situation like we were, start by saving only 1% or 2% of your net income each month; you probably won’t even miss it, and it will build up over time. Truth be told, you’re probably wasting 1% to 2% of your money each month on dumb stuff anyway, so do yourself a favor and put it into savings instead. Just make it an automatic thing every time you get your paycheck and don’t look back or allow yourself to withdraw from the account unless it’s absolutely necessary.
This is the toughest part about getting out of debt. You’ve got to be willing to stick with your plan through boredom, frustration, and temptation. While you’re working on securing your financial freedom, your friends will likely be living it up and continuing to blow their money. Don’t let that sway you. Instead, figure out why financial freedom is important to you, and be a pillar for financial responsibility in your circle of loved ones. Not in an “I’m SO much cooler than you” way, but in a “We’re tired of the rat race and are taking back our lives by doing something different” way.
Friends, you deserve financial freedom. You deserve to not have money and debt payments rule your life. Make a decision TODAY to make a plan and get out of debt quickly. You’ve got dreams to fulfill!
We chose to change our family financial tree and pass a legacy of financial security down to our children and grandchildren.. We’re doing it to avenge all of the financial suffering my grandparents and other family members went through – and still go through to this day. Grandpa, this one’s for you. Happy Birthday.
Who do you want to be debt free for?