There are a lot of different ways in which some one can be free; free from slavery, addictions, caring from what people think, etc. But the freedom I, myself, am trying to obtain, is financial freedom! I want to be debt free!!! I’m emotional about this because I have to be in order for me to stay motivated. If I don’t, I know I will just go back to believing that it is ok to have debt because “everybody has debt.” But, money, ahhhh, the one thing no one likes to really talk about it…
But why? It is such a big part of everyone’s lives! And how we spend our money is super emotional and is a big indicator of what we care about most. Majority of the spending we do is out of an emotional response to something. But we never really want to go there and analyze ourselves and our spending habits. It is important for us to realize that we don’t have to stay in debt, even though the culture says it is “normal.”
Obtaining this financial freedom has been on my mind a lot lately! A couple weeks ago I popped in the good ol’ Financial Peace University CD’s by Dave Ramsey and I was inspired again. I was also challenged. Challenged to live differently and to sacrifice now, for a more freeing future.
I felt like it was different listening to the CD’s before I had children. Now, I have a legacy and a future. I think of my daughter. I think of my growing family. When it’s my turn to go, I don’t want to leave my kids with debt! I want to leave them with an inheritance. I want to be completely debt free. But oh, does it feel so far away!
It’s ok to borrow money temporarily, but not forever. If you always owe someone, its like being a slave, you are trapped and in bondage to them until you pay them back. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender,” Proverbs 22:7. I say all this not to discourage you, but to help motivate you to FREEDOM! So I am going to include below 5 beginner steps to getting out of debt, as well as, 8 tips to help reach those goals.
- Determine how much debt you have
- Mortgage, Student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc.
- Make a list of them all; starting lowest to highest
- Write the minimum payment amount next to each of them
- Create a Budget
- Tell YOUR money what to do. (I’m not going to go into how to do this, but click the link above to learn more. Jeremy and I finally caved into the envelope system, and it has really helped us be accountable and stick to the plan. We go over it once a week to evaluate.)
- Emergency Fund
- Save at least a $1,000 ( After debt is payed, save 3-6months of expenses)
- Pay off your lowest debt first, the “Snowball effect.”
- This way gives you excitement and momentum to keep paying off debt.
- Any money you put towards the previous debt, just gets added to the minimum payment of the next debt
- You should still pay minimum payments on other debts in the mean time
- Automate those payments (if you can).
- Cut out unnecessary spending
- Look through monthly expenses and get rid of anything that is not a NECESSITY.
HELPFUL TIPS TO REACH THOSE GOALS
- Live below your means. You would be surprised about how many things you do not need to live! It’s uncomfortable at first, but you get use to it. KEEP YOUR EYES ON PRIZE!
- Sell your stuff! Whatever you have in the house that you are not using, sell it. Craigslist, Facebook, whatever you prefer to use, just go hustle and makes some moneyyyy.
- Be on the same page (if have a spouse). Be kept accountable by someone. Make sure you tell some one who is going to keep you in check and help you reach your goals. Even if you are not married, choose a friend who you have to check in with that will help you reach your goals. Real friends will help you say NO!
- Keep your eyes on the GOAL. Make a dream board! Hang a picture, collage, or chart that helps remind you of your goals. This is beyond helpful! We need to see our dreams before us to stay motivated. Think about the freedom you WILL have.
- Avoid places of temptation. You will be less tempted to buy anything if you avoid going to malls, stores, or looking online. Create a plan for meals so that food is always made in the fridge. This makes it less tempting to order out!
- Avoid any unnecessary spending
- Improvise. It’s crazy the things you can come up with when you don’t have the option of buying something. Think about it as a game of “Survivor.” Make things work! lol
- Ask friends first! Don’t be shy to ask your friends for things that you may need to use or borrow. We as humans were made to live in community, helping one another. Put you pride aside and let someone help you! It may be uncomfortable at first, but its worth it in the end 🙂
- Get creative. Whether it is finding activities, dates, or things to do, to avoid spending money. There are plenty of fun things that involve little to no money. Spring is almost here too, so get outdoors, enjoy some fresh air!
- Make more money!!!
- There are plenty of apps, sites online, things you can sell or make, etc. Get creative!
- Maybe it’s time to ask for a raise? or come up with a new business plan. What is something you are good at that people may be willing to pay for?
- WORK. Ultimately, this is the struggle. But extra shifts, long hours, whatever you can do, start to do it. Even if you may have a family or friends that you value spending time with, you can be more intentional with your time instead. Quality over Quantity. So when you are with your loved ones, put the phones away, play a game, or talk. INTENTIONALITY is key. Even though they may not see as much, when you are with them, it will be time well spent!
- Still give. Giving is still a vital part of getting out of debt. It may seem counterintuitive, but really, it will help you! It’s a reminder that money isn’t the most important thing and does not own your heart’s affection. I truly believe, the more you give, the more will come back to you! But give out of the goodness of your heart, not expecting anything in return.
Overall, I hope these tips help! Regardless of how deep you are in debt, you CAN get out. It may take a few years, but it will be worth it. Also, when it comes to spending, save for things that are of real value to you. I prefer to say no to shopping for things like clothes, shoes, house items, etc., so that I can say yes to taking a little vacation.
Whenever you say no to one thing, you are saying yes to something else. Live your life, but really sit down with your spouse, close friend, or family member and determine what matters most to you. Take control back of your life and start telling YOUR money what to do!
P.S. I added some helpful links to what I was talking about, but if you go to Pinterest, type in whatever topic you need, there are many resources and tips to help! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I hope this helped you in some way!!! Let me know if it did! 🙂