If you’ve watched the hit Netflix show, Squid Game, you’d know how desperate some people are to live debt-free. In the show, the characters compete against each other to win 456 billion Korean Won ($3.96 billion). But if they lose, they forfeit their lives. It’s a scary premise for a show, but it tells you something important about being in debt — it sucks.
But you already know that. Instead, I wanted to share with you some things that you may not already know. Here are 15 tips that you can do starting now to live a debt-free life:
Before you start living debt-free, you have to look at your debt and what you can do to pay it off. Sometimes, you have to give up some temporary comforts or nice-to-haves so you can recoup some funds. Set aside a few hours, and then list down everything about your debts. Important details include how much money you owed when you borrowed and when you need to pay.
A budget is a plan for your money and is incredibly helpful to have, even when you’re not in debt. A budget will help you allocate money towards your expenses. Budgeting enables you to calculate the best debt payment plan for your needs. If you want to learn more, I have an article on budgeting which you can check out here.
People struggle with understanding just how important it is to pay off debt. You have to make a few sacrifices if you want to live a stress-free and debt-free life. By reallocating some leisure expenses to debt payments, you can buy yourself peace of mind sooner. Remember: delayed gratification is still gratification!
Instead of just saying you want to be debt-free, you should make a real plan. Set monthly goals, such as meeting minimum payments or aiming to pay off your debts by a specific date. That way, you can track your progress and see how much more you need to do.
One of my favorite financial minds, Dave Ramsey, recommends this tip, and it’s what I used to pull myself out of debt. You should consider paying off your smaller debts first before trying to chip away at the biggest one. This way, you won’t be spreading your money too thin among multiple payments and paying more finance charges.
You might want to consider increasing your monthly income if you’re going to pay off your debt quicker. Having more cash flowing in means more money to help meet payment deadlines. If you want some suggestions, I have an article on side-hustles that you can read here.
Since not all of us have time for a side-hustle, you should also consider just getting a job that pays better. A few jobs come to mind, but you can find a detailed article that I wrote here.
The rest of your life doesn’t stop just because you’re in debt. However, you can choose to allocate more money to your debt payments by using coupons and discounts. There are tons of places online that will help you find the deals you need.
I like to set my budget and then do whatever I can to come under it. Doing this leaves me with a bit of extra cash, which I can put anywhere, including bills and debt payments.
You’re going to have to make a few sacrifices if you want to live debt-free as soon as possible. Some suggestions I can give you are limiting yourself to one streaming service and going out to eat less. It might be hard at first, but you will realize that you don’t need certain things.
Apps like Amazon and GrubHub make it incredibly easy to spend your money on things you don’t really need. If you want to make your debt-free dream a reality, uninstall these apps and remove the temptation entirely. Keep your eyes on the prize, girl, and you’ll get it soon enough!
The last thing you need when you’re in debt is more debt. If you can’t pay for something out of pocket, then don’t even bother using a credit card. Leave the cards home or cut them up.
You may have valuable items sitting in storage collecting dust. Platforms like Facebook marketplace have made it incredibly easy to sell your household items to make a quick buck. Sell whatever you’re not using, and have the proceeds go to debt payments. Chances are you won’t miss those items, anyway.
What’s worse than being in credit card debt? Being in credit card debt and hospital debt. It’s important to still set some money aside for emergencies, even if you’re trying to be debt-free. You never know when you could get laid off from your job or worse, an unexpected accident or illness.
Taking on your debts alone can be intimidating. If you want to live debt-free, you should consider getting advice from someone who knows how to get there. Someone like me!
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Dollars Makes Cents by Shaquana, Financial Coach and Wealth Expert, resources helps professional millennial women of color with the tools and skills they need to eliminate their debt, amplify their savings, and build generational wealth — without having to compromise their lifestyle.
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