At TTG, our mission is to “help people keep a few more bucks in their pocket”. That's one of the reasons why we'll be discussing debt. A lot of folks (like I did) pay a lot of “handling costs” when they carry debt. We want to help you avoid this by offering suggestions so that you can rid yourself of debt.
Here are 6 things I did to stop the debt train:
- Found cheaper room/board. In my journey to become debt-free, I decided that I was paying too much for rent. So, I moved in with a couple of guys in a duplex. I actually shared a room with one of them for about two years (college days all over again!).
- Got a family loan. You may not be as fortunate as I was, but I received two family loans to help pay off my debt. A family loan will help you avoid the large interest some creditors charge. I offer a word of caution on this however. Loaning money from family members has to be done with great care and responsibility. I made sure that I had a contract with each member so they knew when I'd be paying them back. You don't want to lose a relationship with family over money.
- Cut expenses everywhere. You have to take an honest look at where your money is going and begin to separate needs/wants. A few things I did was to eat out only once a week, trim entertainment, car pooled to work, skipped the cell phone (I think I was the last person in the US to own a cell phone), bought generic food brands and shopped the thrift stores for clothes). One thing I never quit was giving to my church.
- Stayed accountable. This is a crucial step I took and something I think really helped me stay on track. I had a friend who was also in debt and we would talk about how we were doing and getting ourselves free of our debts. Going through this with someone else will give you support and encouragement when needed.
- Put away the credit cards. With credit cards being a big part of the reason why I was in debt, I needed to put them away. I needed to stop the progression of debt so I could move towards freedom from it.
- Made extra money. Besides my full-time job, I also picked up work doing various jobs. Being a graphic designer, I was able to pick up different projects from time-to-time.
Remember, getting yourself out of debt will require sacrifice and patience. But, set your goals and stick with them – and you'll get there!