We often think of conquering debt in terms of the big actions that are required to get it under control. However, it is equally important to take small steps to get yourself out of debt. These small steps will not only help you to reduce your debt but will also help you save money in the future so that you don’t get into debt again.
Here are ten small steps that you can take to start getting out of debt:
1. Reduce your grocery spending by $50 per month. There are many, many tricks to reduce what you spend at the grocery store. These tricks are most effective, however, if you have a specific goal in mind. Track your grocery spending and spend $50 less next month than you do this month. Put that $50 towards your debt.
2. Give up one subscription. Select just one monthly payment that you make and give it up. It could be a magazine subscription, a cable TV subscription or a gym membership. Put that money towards paying down your highest interest rate credit card.
3. Spending more than $50 on an item? Look for a discount code or coupon. Of course it’s great to use coupons for everything but the whole coupon clipping process overwhelms many people. Focus on always looking for a deal on high priced items and you’ll have more money to put towards your debt.
4. Read one book about debt reduction. This will inspire you, encourage you and give you some fresh ideas about reducing your debt.
5. Sell five things that you own. Now is the perfect time for spring cleaning and de-cluttering. Identify five items in your house that you can sell. They can be small things, like books and CDs, or large items like furniture. List them for sale immediately and use that money to pay more down on your debt this month.
6. Pick one credit card to pay off and set a target date. Although it’s ideal to have all of your cards organized and a payment plan for everything, it can feel like a lot of work to people who carry multiple balances. Find the card with the highest interest rate and figure out a reasonable target date for paying off that card. Set your bank account to automatically make the required monthly payment to reach that target date.
7. Make one money-saving investment. For example, invest in a home energy audit to identify how to make your home more energy-efficient (and therefore more cost-efficient). Alternatively, invest in a good tune-up for your car so that it runs more efficiently and wastes less of that expensive gas you buy for it! This investment will be worth it down the line.
8. Give up one expense for one month. What do you waste money on? Do you smoke or go out to dinner frequently or take cabs when you could walk? Identify just one expense and give it up for just one month. See how much you save!
9. Find a money role model in your circle of friends. We all need to have people that we look to because they are smart with money. The easiest way to find a mentor is to find someone that you already know and can talk about money with. Brainstorm a list of your friends and acquaintances and figure out who your money role model is. Ask him or her one question about how they handle debt.
10. Repeat this phrase in the mirror every day : I can be happy saving money. Many people feel like saving money is a chore. It’s not. It can be a fun, creative way to live life. What is truly a chore is living with debt!
This is a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo. She writes about saving money for Discount Coder blog.