Are you a Debt Free Wannabe? I think it’s safe to say that no-one actually enjoys being in debt so I’m sure most people have debt freedom on their wish list.
For some people, wanting to be debt free might involve getting rid of credit cards and loans and for others, debt freedom might mean getting rid of mortgages or becoming financially free well before retirement age.
Yet many people (myself included not so long ago) spend a lot of time hoping and dreaming about finally getting rid of their debt for good without actually doing all that much about it.
Actually wanting to get out debt – being a Debt Free Wannabe in other words – unfortunately doesn’t mean that you WILL get out of debt.
Why not? Because getting out of debt means continually working hard trying to save money and earn money to use for paying off debts. For an indefinite amount of time! If you’re lucky enough to win the lottery or come into some inheritance than maybe debt freedom will happen sooner than you’d think but for the majority of people, actually becoming debt free is a lot of hard work.
All is not lost though. Here are some steps you can take to make the transition from just thinking and hoping that your debts will get paid off to actually making a real dent in your debt. Actions always speak louder than words!
How to go from Debt Free Wannabe to Debt Freedom Achiever
1. Start your Debt Freedom Achiever ‘Life Plan’
Paying off debt is a little bit like dieting. It’s tough going just like when you first try to lose some weight. It’s restrictive and you’ll probably feel like giving up after a few days of tightening your purse strings and want to indulge in buying something that isn’t necessary.
This is why you need to think about achieving debt freedom as though it’s a healthy eating plan for life. Because paying off your debt and keeping your finances in tip top condition after your debt is gone involves making some serious lifestyle changes and not just temporary changes – long term changes are what’s required to succeed.
My advice is to cut back by saving where you can and start by making small changes. For example, if you usually eat out 3 or 4 times per week, limit this activity to just once per week and use vouchers if possible to go towards the cost of your restaurant bill. Or you could scale back on a few luxuries that you don’t really mind going without.
If you go all out and cut yourself off from the outside world and become a hermit from the very start, then the chances are you’ll give in before you can make some real progress. But once you start making little changes, these will soon become sensible and automatic choices that you’ll make without thinking and it won’t seem like a big deal.
2. Don’t get into any more debt
This might sound obvious but it’s so easy to undo all the good work you’ve done in paying off your debt by putting a purchase back onto your credit card for an emergency or otherwise. I’ve done this time and time before and it’s a vicious circle which might never end unless you break the cycle once and for all.
Of course if you buy something on credit and pay it off before the end of the month, then that’s all good, but it’s a risky way of doing things when you’re on a mission to pay off your debt.
3. Let your debt payoff gather momentum and then crank things up a notch or two
Once you start seeing your debt decrease, you’re going to feel really good about how things are going! That’s because you’re going to feel more at ease with your finances, less stressed out and more happier overall. When you start to feel like this, challenge yourself to save even more and look at ways to make more money either through your current job or by making money on the side.
Escalating your debt payoff when you’re fully into the swing of things is one of the best things you can do because you’ll already be motivated and you’re only going to become even more motivated when you see some really good progress! There will come a point where you reach a halfway point in your battle to become debt free. Then you’ll soon be over the hardest part and on the home stretch.
By this time, you’ll have made some great changes to your lifestyle which will most likely mean that you won’t let yourself give in. It’ll just be a matter of time before you succeed and you’ll be a proactive Debt Free Wannabe well on the road to debt freedom!
Are you actively doing something to pay off your debt? Feel free to share any other tips for Debt Free Wannabes!
*Image courtesy of Flickr