Out from the Abyss – Out of debt and compiling cash

Today we have a guest post about how to get out of debt.

On paper, it's a matter of saving as much as you can and paying off the debt as quickly as you can buy making the largest possible payments you can.

However, we all know that mentally it takes a certain amount of perspective to get through it.

Gale, our guest writer today, will share just how we can get guide ourselves out of debt.

Whether you’re 20-something and straight out of college or in the grind-out years of making extra payments on your mortgage, sticking to a budget and committing to personal finance goals is crucial. While it’s easy to say, ‘I am sticking to my budget this time,’ it becomes doubly important to put plan to action. While everyone knows some of the basics of sound personal finance (no big unnecessary big purchases and stay in to cook dinner instead of going out) there are some less obvious tips that can make a world of difference to your budget. Let’s discuss this with greater depth.

Put Idea to Words

Companies keep track of budgets through comprehensive Excel documents or similar programs. Imagine if companies didn’t keep a physical (or digital) copy to help plan out monthly expenses. At the end of the month, the company would be frantically scrambling around wondering where all that company cash went right as the office power bill arrived. Use this same principle on a smaller scale when it comes to your personal finance planning. The point here is to make a record in a data spreadsheet. Don’t have a computer or way to digitally record your budget? Write it down on a piece of paper. Dedicate a line or space for each expense you plan to have and record exactly how much you plan to spend on that one item. Use this plan when comparing your actual end-of-the-month expenses.

Set Personal Records

It can be a slippery slope when it comes to spending, but it can go the same way for not spending. Set a goal each month and see if you can spend less than that the next month. However, don’t become a cheap person while on the path to being a frugal. This means penny pinching every decision you make. Especially when you are out with friends, family, or other associates being cheap can alienate you from groups. Pay your part and don’t try to make others foot the bill for you, or you’ll stop getting invited to events. Set records in terms of your personal allowances. If you went out for dinner 6 times a month last month, try to cut that to four or go extreme and cut it to a bi-monthly end-of-the-week reward. Set personal bests and see how much you can cut without cutting necessities (or relationships).

Forfeit Instant Satisfaction for Long-term Use

This isn’t going to be a drawn-out declaration to saving and investing (both are positive options, of course). This is a mindset you should have when making spending purchases. Choices such as Starbucks in the mornings before work, going out on lunch breaks, weekend trips to Las Vegas, and massage subscriptions are all short-term satisfaction purchases. Instead, make more long-term purchases and durable goods. An example can be a new/used mountain bike (I’m into trailing). While likely expensive, a mountain bike will last several years if taken care of properly. Instead of renting a cabin for a week to go hiking, I bought a mountain bike to visit some of the local backcountry. Every couple of weekends I go out and do some riding. This provides me the same satisfaction as going hiking but over the long term my cost is much cheaper than renting a cabin and going hiking for vacation ever year.

This is just one example of this long-term mindset. See if you can think of other creative ways to substitute long-term satisfaction instead of short-term.

When you’re in debt, even tiptoeing up a mountain will get you somewhere. Budgeting, setting personal records, and substituting short term satisfaction for long term benefit can all make up a framework that will help you save money in the end. The thing that matters most is getting into a mindset. It may be tough to cut your daily latte from your life at first, but over time not having that latte will become habit and you will not desire it as much. Buy a can of your favorite coffee and have it last a couple months and brew your own coffee each morning. You’ll be so relieved to find out how much you’ll save on coffee and other like-purchases. When you finally do reach the summit of that mountain and can finally say you are debt-free is something not many people experience. When you do, you’ll remove a monkey off your back that effects much more than just your bank account. It’ll relieve personal stress, improve your happiness, and provide other untold positives. Now get out there and climb that mountain!

Gale Newell has spent her career in the finance industry. She understands debt can be an overwhelming foe and uses her knowledge to help others. She writes on behalf of www.topconsumerreviews.com/.

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