So you’ve decided to say “Hell No” to the credit card companies. You’ve looked at your debt to income ratio and decided to make some changes. You’ve made the choice to eliminate those nagging student loans.
You’ve asked yourself, “should I pay off my mortgage?” And you’ve answered with a resounding YES! You’ve decided to grab your own bull by the horns before you seek the assistance of a debt service. Good for you, but as with all great changes in our lives – sacrifices must be made.
Want to Make More Money?
Besides finding ways to make more money, you should also be concerned with how to save money. There are plenty of financial experts out there who tout “earn more income” over “spending less”. Some have great insight and others are just trying to corner the ‘personal finance’ market by focusing on something positive (like more money) instead of something negative (like debt).
It’s so very important to know what your debt to income ratio is. And earning more income is a great way to help reduce your debt, but in my experience, making more money can’t happen as instantaneously as reducing your spending.
Even if it only takes you a week or two to find a second job or start a side business, you can start spendng less and spending wisely today.
Whatever course you take, you can’t just keep spending more than you make. You can’t eat out every night or even every other night. I know that new phone is sweet but guess what? You can’t have it.
You are on a mission now. The mission is to be debt free. Nothing is sweeter than the taste of victory. I want you to win, I want us all to win. But get ready, it’s NOT easy.
Don’t be fooled by the slick talkers telling you that “you don’t have to spend less at all, just start earning more.” That’s like weight loss ads telling you to eat whatever you want without exercise and still lose weight. More often than not, it’s just a gimmick to make money for the seller.
Getting out of debt is hard. The best place to start (before you begin earning more income from the magic money tree out back) is to take a long, probing look into your past. How did you get here? How much debt to you really have? Are you the only person who’s in this situation?
Those are the easy questions, really. The most difficult question is, “Are you ready to make the sacrifices necessary to become debt free?” Without a strong YES answer to this question, you will not get there. Is that too harsh? No, because all choices in life require a give and take relationship. Let’s take a closer look at some sacrifices you need to prepare for.
Spending: You will NOT be able to spend money like you have been. That’s why you are in debt. Those credit cards need to be frozen, buried in the back yard, or shreded. Matt Jabs at a Debt Free Adventure wrote a great post about shredding his cards Credit Card-Close’em Shred’em & Forget’em. Cash or a debit card is all you need. If you don’t have the money, you don’t get the item.
Budgeting: You will need to live on a budget. There is no other way to say this. You need to understand the movement of your money and utilizing a budget is the single most important way to accomplish this. Most personal finance blogs have detailed information on how they budget. Check out as many as you can to see the wonderful variety in budgeting.
Family: There will certainly be some sacrifice in terms of your family. Does your spouse have to go back to work to make extra money to eliminate the debt? Is a second job in your future? Are you ready to miss a family events because you have to work to supplement your debt elimination plan? These are some VERY important questions to think about when starting the process.
Friends: Can you say “no” to going out with friends? There are many ways to continue your friendships that don’t involve money. Keep up with friends on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, E-mail, Text messages, Phone calls. Let all your friends know about your new mission and I bet some are in the same position. Talking with friends about money and the battles you face is a great way to get support for you efforts.
Life goals: Some goals may need to be put aside for a while. Maybe you need to hold off on having the next child. Maybe moving up in housing needs to put off, until you can have a large down payment. Maybe you can’t take on that new job at work.
Whatever it is, you may need to place it on hold. Once your debt is gone, get back to reaching those life goals. Only now you’ll have a clear head and will be able to completely focus on reaching those goals. Without debt on your shoulders, you’ll be much more agile to make moves in your life.
I’m Not Only the Deliver Away Debt President, I’m Also a Client
Why am I talking about these sacrifices? Because I’m living them now. I’ve made the choice to blow up my debt. I want to be free of the debt that binds me. I’ve had to learn to budget, and man do I love it now!
My wife and I had to make a choice between her returning to work or raising our two kids. She stays at home to raise the kids because the income she could bring in isn’t worth paying the cost of daycare. I’ve taken on the second job. I deliver pizzas on the weekend (hence-DeliverAwayDebt). I work at least 60 hrs/week at job one and 22 hrs/week at job two.
I choose to keep up with my friends using all the means described above. My family is very understanding when I have to miss the events. Most of them have been moved to the early afternoon so I can attend. Without this great support system, getting out of debt would be much more painful.
Are these sacrifices worth it. YES!! I “flash forward” all the time and think about the thing I’ll be able to enjoy once I’m debt free. The ultimate goal for me is to be able to live on one quarter of my current income while I start a pizza place. It will be paid in cash and having no consumer debt will allow me to build the business without having maintain my current income.
Good luck to you and your quest. Remember-without sacrifice the goal just isn’t as sweet.