This post is sponsored by Nationwide Debt Reduction Services. All words and opinions are my own.
I talk a lot about saving money and how hard we worked to get out of debt to buy our house, but man alive can I tell you how hard it is to STAY out of debt!
It’s no secret that we absolutely still had debt when we bought our house. And we STILL have debt now! In fact, after achieving our biggest goal, it’s really easy to slide back into that whole “I’ll just charge that new furniture that I absolutely need right this second” mentality.
And because I’m totally a spender, more often than not, we have done that. However, unlike before, we now don’t buy anything we can’t pay cash for… EVEN if that means using our credit cards to get the discount/points/perks. We just turn right around and pay it off in full.
Along this journey to becoming debt free, I have discovered some really easy things that seem like no-brainers but can really put you far behind, especially if you are living basically paycheck-to-paycheck.
- Pay your bills on time, especially your utilities. We get burned here every time, seriously. While we always make our car payments, credit card bills, and mortgage on time, it’s so easy to let your electric bill roll over to the next month, because it really does no harm and you pay only cents in interest. THIS. IS. BAD. Why? Because you ultimately end up with a huge bill that you probably haven’t budgeted for and then will be facing a shut off notice. Speaking from experience here guys!
- Build an emergency fund. Most finance people will tell you to have $1000, but seriously even if you just set $25 aside each pay, it adds up and helps out when you need it the most! Try to only use it for absolute emergencies. I also keep a credit card open for emergencies too, although not ideal, it’s somewhere to turn!
- Know what you’re capable of! If you are drowning in debt and trying desperately to get out, know when to throw in the towel and get some help! There are wonderful people out there like Nationwide Debt Reduction Services who are dedicated to helping you wade through your debt and get back on the right foot. They can help negotiate some of the large debt and find a settlement that works for you. In this age of technology, getting in touch with companies has never been easier. Find them on Facebook to check out if they can help you achieve your debt-free goals.
- Be OK with saying no. It’s OK to not be able to go to the hottest new restaurant or take the most lavish vacation. If you are keeping up with the Jones at every turn, you are headed straight for financial destruction.
- Change your mindset. This was a hard one for me. It’s like dieting. If this is just a temporary fix to your financial situation, you will ultimately end up right back where you started in no time. This needs to be a lifestyle change. Sure, once you are more on your feet, you can say “yes” to a few more luxuries, but without a solid budget and debt-free plans, all of that debt will creep right back up!
** Probably not good in all situations** When I pay off a credit card, I always get myself a little reward. I’m sure most financial planners would cringe at that statement, but I’m not talking about anything ridiculous, just maybe a new sweater I’ve been eyeing at the store, or maybe a nice pedicure. Then the following month, I roll what I would have paid on the payment I no longer have into another debt. The classic snowball method.
It seriously might be because I work in accounting, but I love budgeting. It’s what calms me when I am stressed. Numbers are black and white — they aren’t changing unless you make them change! And when you are able to pay off those credit cards or loans, it is so much fun!
What are your secrets to budgeting success?