Steps to Getting Debt Free
Getting Debt FreeGetting debt free should be a goal of every Christian. Proverbs 22:7 tells us that, "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
We had a goal of being debt free even before we married. It is a financial goal we set during pre-marriage counseling.
There have been many set backs over the years... medical bills, failed businesses, college expenses, loss of income... but we never gave up on the goal. You shouldn't either! Christian business opportunities make it possible to live a debt free lifestyle.
So, how can you make this dream of getting debt free a reality? Here are the steps we take to move closer to being completely debt free... even paying off our home.
Debt Reduction Plan
#1 Prepare a Budget
"Riches can disappear fast... so watch your business interests closely. Know the state of your flocks and herds." Proverbs 27:23-24
Financial freedom is not determined on how much you make... but on how you spend it! Know where you are putting your money. Know where it's going.
To control spending you have to nip it in the budget. Here is our budget worksheet. Yes... it is work! But it is the single most important step that cannot be skipped. In fact, we recommend doing it right with software like Quickbooks. We've used it for years.
#2 List Everything You Owe
List everyone you owe money to. Banks, Credit Cards, Stores, Doctors, Hospitals, Family, Friends... all of it. Show how much you owe... what your monthly payments are... how much interest you're paying... terms of loans... all finance charges.
Get the facts at any price! Here's the simple equation: Ignorance plus easy credit equals financial disaster. Getting debt free requires brutal honesty on your part.
#3 Prioritize Your Debt
You want to pay off the debt that is costing you the most... in interest that is. But sometimes this is too daunting a task. So many people choose to pay off the smallest debt first, then the next largest and so on.
Either way, here's how. Pay the minimum payment of each debt. Pay as much extra as you can on the debt on top of your list, even if it means getting an extra job.
Once that debt is retired, add what you were paying to the minimum of the next debt in line. Keep repeating until it is all paid off. It's like a snowball. The momentum builds until you can finally proclaim, "I'm debt free!"
Rate SurfingAs you begin to eliminate higher cost debt following these steps... also look for ways to lower or consolidate your debt cost even further. We call this rate surfing.
Take advantage of these offers but beware of the terms. One slip and you could be in a wipe out... paying higher rates than before.
It is a risky game and you have to learn to play to your advantage.
Bottom line in getting debt free... get rid of the highest cost debt first.
Behavioral finance enables your behavior to line up with your goals. It begins by learning to be content with what you have and greatly speeds up the process of becoming debt free. It will also keep you from getting into trouble again in the future.
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