How Do I Get Out of Debt?
How do I get out of debt? Have you EVER asked yourself this question? For too many years I have desired this, yet never really took sincere steps to do it. The road to debt was paved with easy terms, slick advertising, and not understanding sound financial principles. As I’ve pondered this, I realize I can only blame myself. Searching deeper on this topic of finances I realized this was “hush hush” in my home growing up. Possibly that’s how it was in many homes. I don’t blame my parents. They did the best they knew how at that time. They were responsible with their money. We always had our needs met with clothing, food and shelter. I never remember a time of “lack” or going without. In that regard I was blessed.
While I mention I didn’t experience what it was like to be without basic needs, I do remember my mother making most of my clothes and her clothes because she could make them cheaper than store bought. (which now, home sown clothes are probably more quality driven than most store bought) To this day, my mother still denies herself things like store bought clothing. She really isn’t physically able to sew anymore, but when she is taken to the mall, she will always say things are too expensive and she will make do with what she has.
Mom and dad grew up during the depression era many years ago, so they know what it’s like to be without, and they were wise with their money possibly out of fear of being without. While they were great at budgeting and saving money, they didn’t talk about money. The mind blocks I received in my childhood regarding money boiled down to two basic things. I have lived most of my adulthood believing 1) I can’t afford it and 2) there is never enough. Let me add a third false belief: I’m not worthy of having.
Does this sound familiar? Money woes will put a strain on a marriage. Money pressure will cause so much stress that physical symptoms appear. Let me also say that choices made early on in my life contribute to some of our poor financial decisions. My husband and I married while he was still in college. I had not finished college when we married, and I didn’t go back to school until all three of our children were born. We didn’t start out our married life well established financially. We made our first big mistake by charging bedroom furniture at Sears and then only paying the minimum due. We’ve spent our married life between a rock and a hard place with the false belief that the next month will be better. Have you ever hear the phrase “you cannot keep doing the same thing and expect different results”? Well…that’s exactly what we have done, and many of you do. Start to seriously ask yourself: How Do I Get Out Of Debt!
Best Way To Become Debt Free
The best way to become debt free and get a handle on finances is to take an honest look at your situation. Facing your spending habits, looking at all your bills, and taking an honest look at your money beliefs is a really good start. It really doesn’t matter how much money you make. Let me say that again. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. People who do not make very much money but understand how to handle their money can be better off than people who have a high paying job and don’t know how to handle finances. It all begins with that question you need to ask yourself: How Do I Get Out Of Debt!
A few years ago we owed about $16,000 in credit card debt. Until I sat down with my credit card statements, I had NO idea we owed that much money. I was behind on payments because I didn’t have a good system to pay my bills. I actually contacted a debt solutions firm and they helped me by contacting each creditor and the late fees were stopped, and lower interest payments were agreed upon, and I started making payments every pay day to the debt solutions company and they paid my bills. The money was taken out of my bank account every other week on pay day (it was easier for me to divide the payments up than to pay once a month). I will tell you that in mid May, 2016 we will be debt free from out credit cards!!! DO NOT go and get a consolidation loan to cover your credit cards. You will only go out and obtain more credit cards and then you will have that consolidation loan AND your new credit card balances. If you are disciplined, you can set your credit card payments up correctly to “snowball”. If not, do what we did and get a company to help you. We used Green Path Debt Solutions.
When you set this in motion, you need to say NO to more debt. We paid off our car last year. Both of our cars are paid for now. They are old. They aren’t the latest and greatest models. The cars run well. We keep them serviced.
What we have left now is honestly a big student loan I’ve neglected from when I went back to finish my bachelors in nursing (which I didn’t finish) and another bill that wasn’t a credit card. I will be transparent here. That amount comes to about $16,000. That is our next project to pay off. We also owe $106,000 on our mortgage. We plan to pay that off too.
OK. So, we honestly went about this all wrong because we got the cart before the horse. It was GREAT that we were paying down our credit card bills, and that we didn’t run out and get a new car when we got our old ones paid off. We still had not addressed our habits.
Now we are. If you are married and want to see things in your household change, you need to sit down with your partner and have a conversation. It’s best to be on the same page.
The 4 Laws Of Financial Prosperity
We are using a simple system now. I’ve got a Cash Envelope and a really cool book by Blaine Harris and Charles Coonradt called The 4 Laws of Financial Prosperity.
Here is the Book:
Here is the Cash Envelope System:
I have some of Dave Ramsey’s books, and they are good. I’ve never gone through Financial Peace University, but I hear very good things about it. I like the 4 Laws of Financial Prosperity because it is SIMPLE!
Basically, there are 4 things you REALLY need to start doing. You don’t have to start them at the same time. The first thing you really need to do is to track what you spend. You will be AMAZED at how much you spend on little things. A soda from the machine. Eating out. Impulse buying. I’m SUCH an impulse buyer.
The second thing you need to do is see where you can trim expenses. Over the past few years, we have gotten rid of cable TV, we have disconnected our home phone because we use cell phones now. We did purchase an “Apple Box” that we can run Hulu and Netflix through. We do pay for those but are under $20.00/month for both. We did keep our internet service which you need to run the Apple Box, Hulu and Netflix through. We stopped using Redbox and renting movies. We don’t go to the Movie Theater. See where you can shave off your expenses.
I won’t get into the third and fourth things, as I don’t want to give away all the tips from the book. It’s an easy read though. Truly it is. It’s in a story form, so it’s sort of fun to see how the character in the book applies these financial principles.
Being WELL includes financial wellness. It truly does. As I shared earlier: stress will bring on physical problems. Not only will financial illness harm you physically, but it will have an impact on your emotions, your family, your relationships, and all areas of your life.
I’m a wellness coach, and I’m working on these areas of my life which need to be healed. I’ll be blogging my financial healing journey. Our financial well-being is a work in progress. I’m excited to share my journey with you!