Paying down debt should be simple. You earn an income, pay your expenses, and then you allocate the remainder of your income to paying off your debt (obviously there’s more levels in between). Of course you should also try to follow the debt loyalty list suggested by Suze Orman.
However, let’s face it- paying down debt sucks. We would rather be saving that money or using it to enjoy life a little. Here’s the problem- chances are that you are in debt because you chose to enjoy your life a little too much.
After a few conversations with friends that are stacked with debt I was going to do a full out a rant today. Instead I decided to put together an article that made some sense and offered some solid advice, while still ranting here and there (I hate reading incoherent ramblings online personally). Now please allow me to jump right into my rant/thoughts on paying off debt:
Take a break from spending money
One thing that annoys me completely is when someone owes me money or owes someone I know money and I find out they are going out. How can you go out to a club and buy expensive drinks when you owe money? First of all, once you build a reputation in your circle of friends for not being able to pay back your debts then good luck on finding financial help when you need it the most. Second of all, how can you have a clear mind while partying when you know that you are doing so on borrowed money? Stop complaining and learn how to do something remotely fun without having to use your credit card for once.
Get back to the basics of money management
Return to the foundations of saving money and managing your money. Pretend you are a child when it comes to managing money if you have to. Remember the days when five bucks was a big deal? At least try to pretend that money has value to you. You can also try to remember the joy you felt when you saved up your allowance for 6 months to buy a new Walkman (anyone remember what came before the Walkman?).
Spending money can be very fun. Instant gratification is a great feeling. Unfortunately, the debt that follows has no redeeming qualities about it. If you continue to spend money frivolously then as you get older the debt will grow high and higher.
Learn how to embrace frugality
Some may call you “cheap” but there is nothing wrong with applying some basic frugality tips to your life. I know there is a major emphasis in the personal finance community on “big wins” but being in debt you should be looking to take any wins/savings you can get. Frugality isn’t fun but being debt free is. I’m not the type of guy to stress too much about all small expenses but that’s also because I have been fortunate enough to not rack up any debt.
Please feel free to start ranting about paying off debt!