You’re fresh out of college. The first thing that you have to worry about? Debts.
You just purchased a new home. Your first housewarming gift? Debts.
You just rolled out of the garage with your new car. Your first destination? Debts.
Of course, we’re not trying to stop you from going after the necessities such as education and a comfortable home. After all, at some point, each of us will owe something to somebody. Debt, believe it or not, is normal. There should be no shame attached to it because much like death and taxes, debt is a certainty in life too.
And whether you have unconsciously or consciously accumulated it, you shouldn’t just forget about your debts and sweep them under the rug. Quite the opposite, actually. You should make it a priority to tackle debt right away before it becomes a much bigger problem.
We know that this is easier said than done. But with a solid plan, enough motivation, and the right support, you can finally say goodbye to debt for good. We’re here to help you do just that.
The challenge: Be debt-free in 3 simple steps.
The contender: You.
Your ally: Us.
You’re probably ready to be free of debt as soon as possible, so we need to tackle the matter swiftly and methodically. Much like in a war, you cannot defeat debt with all guns blazing. It is a step-by-step procedure that needs perseverance and patience. This is why we’ve broken down the process into 3 steps.
Ready to tackle debt and get rid of it for good? Read on below to find out just what our 3-step plan is.
1st Step: List down all of your outstanding debts.
There’s no bigger reality check than to sit down and tally all the loans that we have amassed through the years. But why is this step necessary? This is a matter of prioritizing your debts. Think of it this way: your loans will vary in interest rate, among other factors. The last thing that you want is for you to start paying off one loan only to discover later on that there’s another pending loan with a much bigger interest rate.
So what you need to do now is to remember each debt that you owe and list them all down. Take note of three important things:
- What you owe
- The interest rate of each loan
- The minimum monthly payment that you need to make
This way, you can tackle the loans that have a higher monthly plan and a higher interest rate first.
Why should you strive to pay loans with bigger interest rates first? The answer is simple: this puts a halt to your debt snowballing into a bigger sum by way of interest rates. Once you put a ceiling to stop debt from piling up, you can start chipping away at the amount that you owe.
So sit yourself down and get to writing. And once you’re absolutely certain that you everything has been accounted for, you can now move on to the next step.
2nd Step: Round up your assets.
Your assets can mean many different things. This can be your properties, your valuables, your income stream, or your savings. Consider all these and figure out a way to make sure that significant portions of these are reserved for your debt-payment plan.
Which of these resources can you direct towards your debt-payment? How can you go about this? What are your options?
Well, you may decide to sell some of your valuables to get out of debt faster. We understand just how tempting this may be. But before you jump right to it, make sure to ask yourself the following questions first:
- Can I legally sell this property?
This applies to leased items that you do not, in fact, legally own yet. Your car or your house could be listed under this category. Basically, this is about making sure that what you’re selling is indeed yours.
- Will the gains be enough to cover my debt?
After everything — the tax implications and other charges of transferring one asset to another—will you still have enough to cover a significant part of your debt? If the answer is no, then you might be better off holding on to your asset than selling it.
That’s just one option, of course. You can also look at gaining more assets aka money. A road often taken in this scenario is to simply find ways to increase income. And you can do this too. After all, cutting down on your spending can only take you so far. It’s only natural for some sacrifices to be made. You can keep yourself in a tight budget, but you’re going to cover more ground by finding ways to earn more instead of saving more.
For example, you can take on a freelance gig online. Or you can volunteer to babysit, pet-sit, or house-sit for your neighbors. Monetizing your hobbies, such as photography or painting, can help you rake in a few extra bucks as well. Just make sure that the bulk of the extra money that you earn will go directly to paying off your debts.
3rd Step: Stop depending too much on your credit card.
If you have diligently followed through in the first two steps, then this is where you make sure that you don’t have to go through the whole process again.
And, yes, you read that right: you need to lay off the use of your handy credit card. The culprit of accumulated debt is often the liberal use of it, after all.
So, as difficult as it is, you have to come to terms with the fact that your credit card is one of the major reasons that you are in this predicament in the first place. Accumulating and paying off debt will continue to be a cycle for as long as you consistently rack up the bills through this medium.
Your best plan of action is to start (or re-learn) using cash. Here are some tried-and-tested tips that can set you in the right direction:
- Leave your credit card at home.
Tuck it in the innermost corner of your drawers, and bring it out only during emergencies. This way, you won’t be tempted to swipe every time something catches your eye in the mall.
- Always have cash-in-hand.
Not only will you be avoiding further accumulation of debt, but you’ll also be more in charge and on top of your budget.
- Get yourself a debit card.
Do you absolutely prefer to go cashless? Then at least enroll your account to get a debit card. This way, you’ll be spending money that you actually already have as opposed to spending money that isn’t yours.
There you have it—your 3-step plan towards eradicating debt. It may seem as if you still have a long way to go before you are completely debt-free. But the idea is that you should start doing something about it now rather than later. Take it one step at a time and soon, you’ll finally find yourself in a good place. Your credit score will recover and your debts will be wiped out.
Bonus tip: We know that tackling this heavy endeavor may seem like a grueling uphill climb. So, it’s important to make room for celebration and reward in between small wins. We don’t mean that you should blow off your budget in an expensive item just because you’ve gone past one or two hurdles. Keep the celebrations small but meaningful. For example, treat yourself to that new movie that you’ve been looking forward to. Or buy yourself a pizza and celebrate with food. It’s the little things that will make this journey a lot less stressful. Plus, it’s always nice to get a reward from all the responsible steps that you’ve been taking.