We are turning our focus on saving money, and every week we are going to tackle a new way to save on things you're already spending money on. By taking action and doing some of the stuff we're talking about here in this series, you can build your first emergency fund and pay down tons of debt.
The next tip we're sharing is how to save tons of money by paying down your debts, especially high-interest credit cards.
This tip might be one of the more obvious ones. However, I can't tell you how many people I speak with or work with who want to get out of debt, but then turn around and are still swiping cards and signing up for more loans.
You will never get out of debt if you continue to keep going into debt.
Many people have got this personal finance stuff all wrong. There are too many people who are only focused on making more money, instead of managing the money they're already making. This approach will never work; because the stuff you're blowing your money on will never be enough. You'll get that raise, get that bonus, and you'll just find ways to increase that lifestyle. It doesn't matter how much money you make, the tight grip of debt will only get tighter.
That's why one of the best things you can do to save more money and have success is to get rid of your debts as fast as possible, which will allow you to keep more of your income to save.
Plus, interest is a killer! Nerdwallet.com reported that on average, people are spending $555 per month on interest alone. So it goes without saying when you pay off your debt, the less interest you'll be paying and the more of that money you'll be keeping to benefit your own life.
So what's the best way to pay off your debts?
Many people make the mistake of focusing on math when getting out of debt. But the math didn't put you in the situation you're in today because if we're doing the math, many of us wouldn't be here because the math is downright scary. It's all about your behavior.
Darren Hardy says,
"You will never change your life until you change something that you do daily, the secret to your success is found in your daily routine."
And that statement is so true when it comes to your money. Your habits and your behaviors are the reason you're in debt. Once you start making better habits and better choices, only then will you see your finances improve.
You will never be successful in paying off all your debts without a monthly budget. Many people know they need a budget, but how many of us are doing a budget consistently to reap the benefits? According to careerbuilder.com, only 32% of people have a working household budget. Your income is your number one tool to get out of debt and change your life. You've got to know how much money you've got coming in, and how much money you've got going out.
When you have a good plan in place, the more money you can give the plan, and the better off you'll be. Now I know this sounds a little hypocritical because I said earlier that the amount doesn't matter, and it won't if you don't have a budget. But once you have a budget, more money will help create more opportunities for faster success. Look for ways to decrease your expenses and look for ways to increase your income. This is where sacrifice comes in. Keep in mind that this is the short-term sacrifice. You don't have to sacrifice the rest of your life. Just for a short period until you get out of debt.
When you start paying off your debt, list your debts smallest to largest by balance owed, and pay them off in that order. You'll work to pay off the smallest debt on your list first while making the minimum payments on all the other debts. It's important to stay current. Once that debt is paid off, work to pay off the next smallest debt on the list. You'll continue this process until all of your debt is paid off (not including your home). The snowball method creates a ton of forwarding motion, and winning and getting results is fun. The more results you get, the more you will want to keep moving forward.
Paying off your debt does take time, and it's hard work. Changing your behavior and saying no isn't always easy. It can take my Roots members anywhere from 18-48 months to become completely debt-free (not including their home). But, during that journey, they're saving more and more money every month, because the more they pay off, the less interest they're paying.
With just a few simples changes and spending a little time, you can save yourself tons of money, freeing up cash to save your first emergency fund, pay down your debts, or even saving for your future! Go ahead and get started, and I can't wait to hear how much you save!
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