7 Ways to Debt Free Living

Personal Stories and Advice

This article with tips for debt free living and the seven things you should avoid was written by Maggie Park.

debt free living

If you want to become free of debt, an uphill climb awaits you, but the reward is attainable with commitment and perseverance.

Like training aggressively to become physically fit, once you put significant effort into becoming financially fit, returning to old spending behaviors is distasteful. This is good news. You can change your life and achieve debt free living. Begin by avoiding these  seven behaviors that cause debt to climb.

1. AVOID paying the going rate. Did you know that some companies will negotiate what seems automatic? Become comfortable with asking. Ask for a lower interest rate.

If you are late with a payment, call the company and ask for forgiveness. Find out what your cable company charges new customers and ask if you can have that rate. Do some research and ask around. Ask about everything.

2. AVOID using credit and debit cards. Carrying cash forces you to think about your purchases. Even using a debit card is not as effective at reigning in spending as paying with cash.

Obviously, using a credit card will only mire you further in debt. So either cut yours up or lock it away. And consider paying cash for large purchases, too. Car dealers, for example, are far more willing to negotiate when they see a wad of cash.

3. AVOID only paying credit card minimums. You know you will never get out of debt by paying the minimum. But did you know that paying a little on each of your debts will also slow you down.

A better method is to organize your debts by interest rate. Next, pay the minimum on your other debts while you get rid of the one with the highest rate.

Now, put that energy into the next highest rate. By ditching of high rate debts, you can save thousands of dollars. And paying off each debt is motivational.

4. AVOID regularly eating out. The workday places us amidst many financial challenges. If you aren't doing lunch with your co-workers, you are driving past many eating establishments on your commute.

Don't give in to the temptation of food. Americans spend between $7,000 and $10,000 per year eating out. If you are a Southerner, you may spend as much as $13,000.

5. AVOID indulging in digital media. Those iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix downloads add up. It's time to take note of how much you are spending on digital media and how it could be getting in the way of your ability to enjoy debt free living.

Try some free alternate services like Books Should Be Free, YouTube and Crackle.

6. AVOID planning vacations during popular travel times of the year. Vacations are the most expensive during the busy season, a time that varies with location. If you book your vacation for the week before or the week after this season, you can save a bundle.

7. AVOID living for the moment. This is where it all begins. People who are debt free have a plan. They don't live for the moment. They budget for monthly spending. They plan for vacations, and they save money in order to get there. They plan for retirement. They even have a plan for how to save and invest money.

With a few behavioral changes, your goal of debt free living is within reach. Yes, it will be difficult. But like any lifestyle modification, once you commit to the process, you will be forever changed.

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