Being in debt is becoming normal for most people today. The statics are scary.
Americans’ total credit card debt continues to climb in 2017, reaching an estimated $905 billion, a nearly 8% increase from the previous year, according to a NerdWallet analysis.
And the average household with credit card debt carries a $15,654 balance. Households with any kind of debt owe $131,431 (including mortgages), on average, according to the analysis.
NerdWallet’s 2017 household debt study shows that several major spending categories have outpaced income growth over the past decade, that many Americans are putting medical expenses on credit cards, and that the average indebted household is paying hundreds of dollars in credit card interest each year.
Marketwatch claims Americans now have the highest credit-card debt in U.S. history.
It’s not just Americans . . . The average Canadian now owes $22,081 in consumer debt, a figure that doesn't include any mortgages, debt monitoring firm Equifax says. In early 2017, The Globe and Mail reported Canada’s household debt burden hit record highs.
We need to stop the insanity and start eliminating debt.
If you are ready to slay the debt dragon, here are 4 simple steps you can start to implement right away:
1. Stop using credit.
Put your credit cards away. Seriously, commit to not using credit anymore. If you are using credit to survive, you are living beyond your means and you need to get a handle on your finances. We understand that can be overwhelming, which is why we created a FREE mini course Money Mastery Made Simple.
2. Find the leaks in your spending.
If you are not tracking where your money is going, I can guarantee there are places where your money is evaporating. You need to identify where you are spending your money every month. Things like eating out or grabbing a daily latte can add up quickly. Review your spending habits and figure out where you can cut back.
3. Create a realistic budget.
This is key to quickly eliminating debt. Learning how to budget properly was the secret sauce to my rapid debt repayment. I personally use Dave Ramsey’s software EveryDollar. You need to track your income and expenses.
If your expenses are more than your income, you have 2 options.
- Reduce your expenses. Go over all of your expenses and decide what you can eliminate. Shop around for things like cell service, insurance, etc. You may be able to get a better deal somewhere else. I have been known to get better cell phone deals plus free phones when I shop around and give my carrier the opportunity to match the better offer.
- Make more money. Not everyone can get a second a job. There has never been a more better time than now to work virtually. You may also want to start a side hustle, which allows you to make money doing whatever you love most.
For more ideas, check out our post Genius Ways to Make Extra Money.
4. Put all your extra cash on debt repayment.
When I had over $100K in deb,t I felt like I could never pay it off, but I did. I created a plan and part of that plan was putting all the extra money I made directly on debt repayment. Many people make more money to spend more money. If you want to pay off debt quickly, you need to stick to a budget, or as I like to call it a money game plan. Live below your means and start putting all that extra cash toward debt.
The debt will be paid off before you know it and you will be free!
The biggest obstacle you have to overcome with these simple steps is your mindset. You have the power to change everything but our minds, and sometimes our egos, get in the way.
If you commit to following these 4 simple steps( stop using credit, find your leaks, create a realistic budget and put all your extra cash on debt repayment), you will be well on your way to debt freedom and financial peace.