Yes, that Krystal may have done it but dammit, she’s the exception that proves the rule: If you are hell-bent on getting rid of your debt NOW, you will fail. Or most of you will.
I feel your stress level shoot up. Hang in there.
First, some (begrudging) exceptions:
- If you have a healthy income and a small-ish debt ($500 – $2000), go hard.
- If you are young or youthful, unhindered by kids, dogs, violin lessons, boyfriends, with quantum energy to work multiple jobs go crazy.
- If Frugaliciously You live well and truly below your means, have been for a while, and you’re good like that, go for it too.
But for the rest of you: those of you who have hit some kind of panicky pissy pain point that makes you think This feels awful and I want this debt of my back NOW, for those of you, listen closely.
If you are serious about eliminating your debt, it requires a long-haul strategy. A long-haul, day after day after day after day after day after tomorrow and the day after that and the day after and the day after and the DAY AFTER THAT strategy.
So. What can you do to get started on a serious journey, not a loop-de-loop in debt | workworkworkwork | making good progress | DAMN NOW I’M BACK IN DEBT journey?
Here are three starters:
- Decide on three small, really small, changes that you can make in your lifestyle that you won’t feel. Think of things like a subscription for a magazine you don’t read anymore; eliminating your land-line and using your cel and skype instead; switching to public transit to save on parking fees at work (but only if you can really handle it). That money you saved? That specific amount (yes, get your calculator and get specific) now goes to your debt every month.
- Move your debt to a lower interest debt. Credit cards can be moved to a lower interest card; lower interest card balances can be moved to lines of credit; lines of credit can sometimes be rolled into your mortgage if you have one. The money you will save in interest? That specific amount (what. you put your calculator away? silly you) now goes to your debt every month.
- Snowball it. The money saved in #1 and #2 goes to your smallest debt. Once that is paid off, combine the money saved in #1 and #2 plus whatever you had been paying originally for that smallest debt and start applying that to the next smallest debt.
Come back Saturday for PART 2.
oh, and if you’re burning to eliminate your debt and take control of your money right now, time for you (shameless plug alert) to take my program.
update: for a recap of all Sept Money 101 posts, click here
Photo Credit: Firepile