There’s a lot of things we tell ourselves we will do in the new year, lose weight, eat better, exercise more, be kinder to ourselves and others, volunteer, etc. But only 46% of all resolutions will survive the six month mark. If you have a financial goal, and if you have credit card debt, then your first goal must be to get out from under it.
With the state of the economy, if you have credit cards in your name then you are one of the lucky ones. You have the tool to properly take care of 33% of your credit score. But we all get buried under the weight of things we’ve bought at one time in our lives. What do we do when this happens? We follow the Ten Commandments of course!
- Stop Spending money on things we don’t need: No new shoes, clothes, expensive gifts, jewelry, or other toys until you pay down your debt.
- Cut telephone expenses: Do you really need that smartphone? Most cell phone plans will let you alter the minutes or have some type of alterations you can make to lessen your bill, perhaps even downgrading to a standard phone while you pay off high debt CC’s.
- Stop using plastic:Resist the temptation by making your cards hard to use. You can put them in a plastic bag filled with water at the back of your freezer. Then they become a frozen asset, literally.
- No more travel and expensive entertainment: There are all sorts of free things you can do for entertainment. Cities spend a LOT of money on parks, and if you’re lucky enough to live where you can take hikes, do so, just an example. Free entertainment has a way of fulfilling you while also leaving you with the bliss of not taking away from your bottom line.
- Spend less on groceries: Try going meatless. No one says you have to be a vegan, but vegetables are cheap in large quantities. Make a list and stick to it.
- Conserve everything: Use less water. Drive less. Turn off the lights. Lower your thermostat when it’s cold, raise it when it’s hot.
- Keep busy so you’re not tempted to spend: If you can work overtime, that’s time you’re not spending. Take your kids to the playground. Get to the gym more frequently.
- Spend less eating out: Until you get your debt paid down, do not eat at fancy restaurants–even on birthdays and anniversaries. It may feel good to drop $70 on a friend’s party, but these little indiscretions add up quick.
- Bring in as much cash as you can: sell things you don’t need, work some overtime, use a skill you haven’t in a while
- Pay off the highest-rate card first: your debts will melt away when you pay them off in order from highest to lowest rate. Make the minimum payments on the lower rate cards, put everything extra towards the highest rate. You’ll see your debt disappear quickly this way.
Some of these things may sound very hard, and that’s the point, but this is survival mode. The more discipline you build here, the quicker you can take your hands off the Red Alert button. It will take less time than you think.