If you’re in debt, you know just how terrible it feels. There’s no sugar-coating it. Below are some simple but easily forgotten or neglected tips for escaping debt.
Stop Borrowing Money
You probably read that and thought, “Well, yeah.” I know. But I had to come to this realization on my own, and it’s not fun. I kept thinking things like, “If I can just get this little bit more,” or, “I still have some space left on my credit card, I can afford this.” And then I ran out of space on my credit card. I ran out of people to borrow money from. And then I was faced with the crushing realization of just how messed up my life was.
Please stop borrowing money. The sooner you buckle down, then sooner you can start moving forward.
Take Your Budget Personally
I don’t want to say that it’s “easy” to pay the minimum on your loan or bill every month, because it’s not – none of this is easy. But it is easy to lapse into the bare-minimum mindset when you’re down. You might feel tired or lethargic, and the “every little bit helps” mentality can devolve into one that says a little bit at a time is enough. It’s not enough.
Think about it this way: being deep in debt is often referred to as “drowning.” When you’re drowning, all you want to do is stay afloat. But staying afloat as a means of survival requires the least amount of effort. Will you make it back to shore if you just float? Maybe. If the tide is going in. But the tide isn’t in your control, and it could just as easily pull you further out to see and further underwater. The only way to safely reach shore is to swim as hard as you can.
So when you’re budgeting, don’t aim to set aside the minimum payment each month. Pick a time in the future that you want to be out of debt by – that’s your shoreline. Figure out how much you need to save each month, and then do everything you can to reach that goal.
Every Little Bit Does, in Fact, Help
I know I just said that this could lead to bad things, but I recently watched Marvel’s Doctor Strange and so many of that movie’s problems would have been solved if the warnings had been on the pages before the super dangerous spells, so I did that for you. I put the warning first. You’re welcome.
The fact of the matter is that every little bit of extra money you can put towards paying off your debt helps. Whether this means working extra hours, picking up a second job, performing odd tasks around such as mowing lawns in the summer or shoveling snow in the winter, or selling things from around your house that you no longer need, each extra dollar you can scrape together will help you become financially solvent again.
I know, this has nothing to do with money directly. But exercising, especially if you work a job that forces you to sit for hours on end, is essential to your quality of life. For example, I have been running regularly at my old high school’s track, I take my dog for a two-mile walk almost every day, and I have started lifting weights again. My focus, self-confidence, and energy have all increased dramatically, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like the life I want is finally within reach.
You work hard, you deserve to be paid accordingly. That’s the beauty of the free-market. And if your current employer will not give you a raise, you can re-evaluate how much you feel your time and energy are worth and you can look for jobs and employers who will appreciate it. The more you take your financial well-being into your own hands, the more opportunities will present themselves to you.
The last and most important advice I can offer is to keep your goal somewhere that you can see it every day. A note, the wallpaper on your phone or computer, anything that you know you’ll see multiple times every day. It might not be much, but always remember what your shoreline looks like. Just keep swimming.