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How to Get Out of Debt

How to Get Out of Debt

Whether you are battling consumer debt or trying to get rid of a mortgage like me, there are steps anyone can take to get out of debt. Depending on your situation, you can concentrate more on spending or more on earning. You can use these tips on how to get out of debt and back on solid financial footing.

Attack Your Spending

The first step to getting out of debt is to control your spending. I'd highly suggest going on a complete spending freeze while you make a plan of attack. It's tough to pay off a balance that just continues to grow. While you have some breathing room during a spending freeze, you can create a budget that will help you control your spending long term.

Create a Budget

Every battle is better fought with a plan. I'd highly suggest making a list of your expenses - all of them. If you don't know where your money is going, it is impossible to assign it to new things, right? Sit down at the table and figure out exactly which expenses you can cut back on or ways to make extra money to redirect cash towards your debt. The trick is paying as much towards the debt while keeping in mind your necessities and an emergency fund. The emergency fund will give you some breathing room in bad months so that your expenses are still paid and you don't have to give up on debt repayment either.

Tighten your Belt

Figuring out how to get out of debt is never easy and may require a little pain on your part. Quick debt repayment may mean giving up luxuries you have grown used to over time. Some people choose to cut back on daily habits like lattes or smoking. Others find their debt repayment cash by changing up the huge living expenses like housing or transportation. Where the money comes from is completely up to you, but cuts are usually necessary. You can stay motivated by thinking about how great your financial life will be once you are debt free.

Monitor your Progress

I'd also suggest ranking your debt based on either the total amount or highest to lowest interest rate so you know which ones need to be paid down the quickest. It is normally a good strategy to put the monthly extra towards the debt at the top of that list and then roll that whole amount onto the next one down each time a debt is paid off. You should start to notice your debts shrinking and your savings growing, which may keep you motivated.

My husband and I have about $64,000 of mortgage debt left, so we do pay $900 every month instead of the $504 we technically owe. The plan is to pay off our home no later than 2017 so we'd only have a mortgage for 10 years or less. Once we own our house outright, we'll start rolling that $900 a month into a savings account solely for home maintenance or our future home payoff if or when we upgrade.