I enjoy finance. I know, it’s a little weird, but there is something so satisfying about paying things off and watching the money in your account grow. Because I enjoy it so much, I tend to take notice of a lot of financial decisions being made around me and honestly, they’re often terrible. These people make me want to stop, slap them in the face, and say, “You’re the idiot that got yourself into this whole thing. Stop being dumb. Stop worrying about your debt and DO something.” After all, getting out of debt is pretty near impossible if you’re just expecting it to magically go away.
And because I eavesdrop into other people’s conversations, I hear a lot of complaints about debt. “I have too much debt.” “Boo debt.” “Thanks, Obama.” Sometimes these complaints are about student debt, credit card debt, and other times it’s medical.
Sometimes we get into debt before we realize how annoying it is to pay off. Sometimes life happens. No matter the reason, you’re in it now, so stop complaining and DO something about it. I mean, you’re probably worried about your debt because you’re not actively working to pay it off, so you feel no sense of accomplishment about your debt. Don’t worry, consider this your slap in the face and some friendly advice from the stranger in the grocery store who overheard your complaints about all the debt that you’re drowning in.
Hi, I’m Ashlee. Nice to meet you. Here’s a step-by-step list to doing something about your debt, because people love lists.
Magical List for Getting Out of Debt
- Stop spending so much – “I don’t spend much. I don’t have any money.” That might be true, but it’s probably not. Go through your bank account for the last month. Calculate where every penny went and categorize by the kind of expense (groceries, eating out, gas, etc.). Now find areas where you can cut down. Are you eating out all the time? Stop it. Make your lunch and take it to work. It’s healthier, it’s better, and it’s cheaper. Can you bike or walk to work? That will cut down on your gas and car maintenance. Lose your cable and watch Netflix. There are plenty of ways to save, you just have to be willing to take a hard look at it.
- Play the psychological game – Becoming successful in finances is mainly psychological. Figure out how to motivate yourself and avoid temptations. Set a goal for how much debt you want to pay off this year or in the next six months and celebrate when you reach it. You can also check out some of these cool money experiments from J$. They’re fun to try, they’re a challenge, and they help you find ways to save. They definitely motivated me to put more money toward savings and debt.
- Make your payments automatic – Up your payments and automate them. Most loan companies make this difficult because they make more money off of you the longer you accrue interest, but if you can automate it, do it. If not, set a reminder on your phone and pay extra money towards your loan as soon as you get paid. It’s a lot harder to put money towards your debt after you see all that money in your account.
- Get a side hustle – This one is tough because it means sacrificing some of your social/free time. But hey, paying off debt takes some hard work. Get a second job and put all of that money towards your debt. Financial Panther has a great article on your side hustle and debt, and it will totally motivate you to do it. Do it right now.
If you have debt whether it be from car loans, student debt, or perhaps even from your credit card, don’t throw in the towel just yet because there is something you can do about it. Now stop making excuses and start getting out of debt!