There are a lot of things you can do to reduce your debt. But what are the most important things you can do? If you could only focus your energy on three things, what three things should you focus on?
These are three actions you can take immediately that’ll have a dramatic debt-slashing effect on your personal balance sheet.
Recruit the Support of Friends and Family
Trying to fight debt all on your own is incredibly difficult. It’s especially difficult if you feel like it’s something you need to hide. Getting out of debt isn’t a process that happens in weeks. It almost always takes months; often it takes years.
Maintaining the self-discipline and motivation to get you through all the hard times that are bound to come up is very hard all on your own. But with the support of people who care about you, who can hold you to your word even when the times get tough, the process gets a lot easier.
Commit to Pay More Than the Minimum, Every Time
The amount of money credit card companies make off of you if you only pay the minimum amount is astounding. Try it: plug in your minimum payment, your balance and your interest rate into an online calculator. You might be shocked at just how much more you’d end up paying.
If you want to get out of debt, it’s crucial that you start paying more than the minimum amount immediately. That often means making sacrifices in other areas of your life. It might mean making coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks. It might mean biking to work rather than driving.
Every dollar saved is a dollar that can be used to pay off your debt.
Not Using Credit Cards – At All
Finally, get rid of your credit cards. Or at least lock them in a drawer and give the key to someone else. Don’t actually close down your credit card accounts though, as having long-history credit card accounts with low balances is usually good for your credit score.
Trying to get your credit card balances down while you’re still using credit cards is a logical fallacy. It just plain doesn’t work. Yet so many people try to do just that. They try to get out of debt, but they don’t actually change their spending habits.
Using credit means you’re essentially using money that you haven’t made yet. If you step away from that mentality and instead only commit to using money that you’ve already made, that alone will set you on a path to financial freedom.
These are three action steps you can take to reducing your debt today. They’re not easy to take, but if you have the willpower to follow through they’ll make a big difference.