1. Know WHY You Want to Be Debt-Free:

Write it down along with all the debts and amounts you owe to keep you motivated. It’ll help to keep you from spending money carelessly.

2. Look at the Full Picture: Gather all the information you can on your debt.

Write down the loan type, the amount owed, the minimum payments, the months left on the loan, the interest rate, whether the loan is variable or fixed and any other information you may need to know. Once you’ve done that, you can choose if you want to pay off the loan with the highest interest rate or the lowest balance.

3. Stop Adding to Your Debt:

If you want to be debt-free, you have to change your mindset. Don’t think of credit as a means to an end. That means committing to no longer thinking of debt as a solution. In other words, stop borrowing.

4. Only Use Cash or Debit Card:

Being on a cash budget will force you to make different decisions and change behavior.

5. Remove Temptation From Your Inbox:

Remove yourself from all coupon- and store-related email subscriptions. I downloaded Unroll.Me.

6. Be Candid With Friends: Share your goals.

Finding free or frugal ways to have fun is crucial if you’re trying to throw any extra funds toward your debt.

7. Find Free and Cheap Entertainment:

Attended free concerts and movies in the park, attended pot luck game nights with friends, and attended outings hosted by churches or universities, etc.

8. Find Ways to Make More Money:

Too many people focus solely on cutting expenses when they’re getting out of debt. Instead, think about making more money.

9. Ask for Help: You shouldn’t hide what you’re going through.

Many creditors have a hardship plan for those who can demonstrate a need, and there are many local nonprofits out there who can help give guidance. Don’t be too proud to ask for help, but don’t contact anyone without doing your due diligence first!

10. Create a Physical Barrier to Spending: Sometimes paying off debt requires you to get visual. Tape your budget to the back of your credit card.

11. Make a Visual Reminder: Make a chart and put it somewhere obvious.

12. Calculate Your Daily Interest Rate: Using the following formula: Interest Rate x Current Principal Balance ÷ Number of Days in the Year = Daily Interest.

13. Only Buy Groceries Online:

You stay on budget when food shopping because you can see your balance owed as you virtually put items in the cart.

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