Last week you began your debt payoff strategy by creating a vision for your life and committing to doing whatever it takes to fulfilling it. Recognizing that this journey is far greater than a bill or a material item, you're fully committed to saying a few no's now so you can say yes to life very soon.
Congratulations! You may not recognize it now but this is the hardest and most important thing you'll do along this journey to financial peace.
Week two of your debt payoff: Create a Strategy
a) List all your debts, smallest to largest. Include family and friends you promised to repay, your car, credit cards, personal and student loans, everything except your mortgage. Create a column for the total amounts, then a second category for the minimum monthly payment.
b) List all net, or after tax, household income. If your health insurance is taken directly out of your paycheck, that can be considered pre-tax and not included in the net income category.
c) List all non-debt expenses in the following order: rent/mortgage, food (based on eating at home), utilities, auto expenses such as gas and insurance, child care and any other required bills.
d) List all ancillary expenses and their costs, i.e. hair, nails, movies and entertainment, travel, etc. These are things that may be important, but aren't essential to survive.
e) Add C and D together, then subtract from A. That will show you how long it'll take you to pay off your debts without making any changes.
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Most people who are striving to get out of debt aren't satisfied with the current timeline, which means they cut expenses, find ways to make more money, or both. I moved in with my boyfriend, sold my car for something cheaper and more reliable, and got a side job that I could do at odd hours and get paid immediately. I was serious.
Here are a few ways to save when there's no money left, and ideas on creating prosperous side hustles.
What are you willing to give up to get what you want?
Determine which expenses can be cut, and commit to those changes immediately. You need momentum, and waiting will easily derail that. Your goal is to pay off your debts (not including your mortgage) in less than two years.
At the same time, get creative about generating side income. Many people can't get a second job working at the mall, for instance, because their primary job may require flexibility, or they don't want to be away from their kids too much. Fortunately, the internet provides immense opportunities to make money from home at all hours of the day.
Next week we'll address one of the greatest stumbling blocks to paying off debt.
And so it is.