You never thought it would happen to you. Even though you were always careful with money, somehow you’ve ended up in debt over your ears. In fact, you’re not even sure how you got to this point. Sound familiar?
If this sounds like you, first off, don’t be too hard on yourself. When it comes to debt, most people are buried under it. In between student loans, medical bills and credit cards, it’s not surprising that so many people feel like there’s no hope. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
To stop being a statistic and start living the life you want, here are a few of biggest mistakes you need to avoid when trying to get out of debt.
Jump in Without a Plan
It’s probably safe to say that most people struggling to get out of debt landed there because they didn’t have a financial plan in place. The best and probably only effective way to get out of debt starts with a financial plan and budget. In order to free up money to pay off debts, you need clear understand where you can make adjustments in your spending habits.
Not Changing Your Attitude
Before you can even think about tackling your debt, you need to change your mindset. As the experts at Ballast Associates recommend, only when you’ve made a conscious decision to change your spending habits and commit to becoming debt-free will things start to change. And that holds true for people with all levels of financial security. People with a higher income might not think they need to change as much, however, that is the farthest thing from the truth.
Trying Too Hard
Yes, it is possible to try too hard to get out of debt. Instead of pacing themselves and focusing one debt at a time, some people try to conquer them all at one time. This simply doesn’t work. The best course of action is to pay off your debt from smallest to largest.
Becoming 100 percent debt-free means only works when you do it for the right reasons. For instance paying one debt only to acquire another is never a good idea. You need to wipe out at least 80 to 90 percent of your total debt before thinking about major purchases. The key is to maximize your purchasing power with cash on hand.
Not Saving for Retirement
In today’s grim economic picture, saving for retirement doesn’t exist for many people. But even if you can only manage 20 dollars a month, it’s never too early or late to start. If your company offers any kind of matching contribution, make sure you are contributing the right amount to maximize that contribution. This makes a huge difference in your longevity when paying off debt. Knowing you have a growing nest egg is oftentimes enough incentive to become debt-free.
You Don’t Have an Emergency Fund
Without an emergency fund, you’re only one step from being right back at square one. Always, no matter how small, put aside a set amount of money for your emergency fund. You never know when you’re going to need that extra money to get through a rough patch. Your ultimate goal should be no less than three months total bills saved in an account that you only touch when there is a true emergency.
Things to Think About
Getting out of debt is never as easy as falling into it. And as overwhelming and hopeless as it may seem at times, it is possible to pay off your debt once and for all. The key is knowing how to cut corners and creating a financial strategy that works for you. If you’re still not sure how to go about it, you can always enlist the help of a financial expert like the ones at Ballast Associates. Financial freedom is possible