By Jason Cabler, Crosswalk.com
Ever entertained the idea of getting completely out of debt but never figured out how to get started? I think most anybody who’s in debt or has been in debt has entertained that idea at some point.
You realize you’re not comfortable with how much debt you have, and you realize that you need to do something about it, but then you become paralyzed. You just don’t know what steps you need to take to get started.
Well, you’re in luck, because today I’m going to show you the best first steps you can take to start moving you down the glorious road to debt freedom!
Getting Out of Debt is Not Always a Piece of Cake
One of the first things you should realize is that climbing your way out of a debt hole is not always a piece of cake. Now, with that said, it’s certainly not impossible, and it’s something anyone can do if they’re committed to the process. Angie and I committed to using these steps when we were getting out of debt, and you can do it too.
It takes work, time, and patience to get the job done, but the debt free results are definitely well worth the effort!
5 Steps to Start Getting Out of Debt
Before you start the 5 simple steps, the first thing you have to do is get your mind and attitude right. You have to decide you won’t be denied in achieving your goal of debt freedom.
That means you have to get mad and naked (find out more about that here).
Once you’ve gotten mad and naked, there are 5 simple steps you can do right now to get started:
1. Make a List. Write down a list of every single debt you owe, no matter how small.
2. Find Out The Details. Besides each debt, write down how much each payment is, and how often the payment is (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc).
3. Add ‘em Up. Add up all your debts to get a grand total of how much you owe. Then add up all your monthly payments to figure out how much you’re paying toward your debt every month.
4. Make a Plan. You have to have a plan if you want to succeed in getting out of debt. The first step is to fill out a “Debt Rocket” plan that will show you the path you need to get all your debt paid off in a systematic way. You can download free Debt Rocket forms here. They include complete instructions on how to fill them out and how the Debt Rocket plan works.
5. Make a Budget. Learning the habit of making a monthly budget is one of the most important things you can ever do to get control of your money and keep control. A consistent monthly budget will do 3 things:
- It frees up money you didn’t know you had because you haven’t been keeping track effectively.
- A budget helps you figure out if you need to earn more, or if you’re just wasting a lot of money or both.
- A budget gives a name and a place for every single dollar, so you don’t waste money and spend more than you make.
To learn more about how to start a budget, read this post on how to make a budget, and download the free budgeting forms you’ll find there.
Change Doesn’t Always Come Easy
As I said before, getting out of debt is not always easy, It takes time, patience, and commitment. Usually, the hardest part is just getting started.
I can tell you from personal experience, taking that first step is always tough because it means you have to change some things in your life and develop new habits. Change doesn’t always come easy.
In fact, our mind, body, and spirit all have a tendency to be resistant to change.
Permanent Debt Freedom
But when you finally get mad and naked and decide you’ve had enough of all that debt dragging you down, making you feel stressed and worried, then you can proceed with these 5 simple steps and bring permanent change to your life.
If you’ve decided it’s time for you to be committed to getting out of debt and on a better path financially, these 5 steps will certainly get you started. You can also get deeper teaching about how to do it by taking my CFF online get out of debt course. You can find out more about it here.
Question: Have you ever considered getting out of debt but never took the first step? What held you back? Leave a comment and tell me about it.
Article originally published on Celebrating Financial Freedom. Used with permission.
Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and self-study course. His book How to Budget: The Quick and Easy Guide to Making a Budget That Works is now available (more info here). He can be reached for interviews or speaking engagements by email, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.
Publication date: April 9, 2014