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Secrets to Helping You to Get out of Debt Quicker

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The following is a contribution from my good friend Laurie at The Frugal Farmer. If you’re interested in contributing to Frugal Rules, please consult our guidelines and contact us.

 

Those of you on a journey out of debt, or contemplating a journey to debt freedom, most likely know what you need to do.  Every person who’s made it successfully out of their debt bondage does one or more of the following things:

Budget

Spend Tracking

Goal Listing

Snowball or Avalanche Methods for Eliminating Debt

Decreasing Expenses

Blah, blah, blah, you’ve heard it all, right?  But have you?  I’m here to tell you that, along with the very important basics listed above (Yes, they are crucial.  You won’t get out of debt without using most or all of the above tips) there are also other important tips that can help you to reach your debt-free date sooner than you might think.  What are they?

  1.  Eat right and exercise.  And not just so you can save money on healthcare costs.  Eating healthy and exercising regularly will do profound things for your getting out of debt journey.  Why? Because when you are living a healthier lifestyle, you are less likely to make emotional or impulse spending decisions. A healthy body helps keep your emotions in check, and helps you to think more clearly about the ways and the means of your road to debt free.
  2. Regular assessment of your budget allocations and spending habits.  This is tough emotionally sometimes but going back and assessing what you’ve spent in the prior month is a huge help in finding leaks in your financial ship. When you look back, after the fact, to see what you’ve spent money on in a given month, it helps you to have that “hindsight is 20/20” attitude and see where you might have spent cash unwisely.  This will help you to reassess your budget allocations and see if they might need adjusting up or down in certain areas, and it will also help you to avoid past spending mistakes.
  3. Continued pursuit of a higher Personal Finance education.  Yes: learn, learn and learn some more. Read personal finance blogs. Read personal finance books. Read stories of those who’ve achieved debt freedom. Find out what successful people’s individual tips and tricks are for staying the course to financial independence, and choose to never, ever stop learning from others. The best part? It’s a largely free education, with the use of the Internet and your local library.
  4. Get a strong support system.  Newsflash, friends: your support system may or may not come from those you’re closest with, and if not, you’ve got to seek out support elsewhere. For us, the PF blogging world has been instrumental in helping us to stay on track with our getting-out-of-debt journey. They’ve been there, done that, and they know the benefits of achieving debt freedom, as well as how to avoid the common pitfalls that can take you off course. We also have certain friends and family members that we can go to when we’re struggling, knowing that they will encourage us to stay the course.

By following these tips along with the basic getting-out-of debt steps, your debt free day is closer than you think.  So why not start on your road to financial independence today?

Laurie is a wife, mother to 4 and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer.  Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom and to a simpler, more peaceful life. 

 

Editor’s note: I could not agree more with Laurie’s thoughts here. Speaking personally, getting out of debt takes a lot of work on various fronts. The beauty, though, is those all work together to make the journey easier to manage and ultimate success sooner.

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Images_Of_Money

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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36 Comments

  • Alexa says:

    Having a support system is a good one! Trying to improve your financial position is hard, there are many days when it’s easy to give up. It’s been very important for me in the past to have people who support me.! I also love to learn. Reading about other peoples experiences definitely motivates me too!

    • You’re so right, Alexa – it is easy to want to give up. A good support system will help to pull you through on those days when you want to throw in the towel. For us, our support system has also been crucial when we are feeling discouraged or as if we can’t reach our goals. A definite necessity on a getting out of debt journey.

  • People dont realize how much there emotions play into digging themselves in debt. Eating and being healthy can help curb the need to make you feel better by purchasing things and spending money. We check our budget regularly as things change and we want to make sure we stay on track. A support system is huge but I have found that sometimes the people around you want you to stay in the same pattern. Make sure the people around you are where you are wanting to get to or at least trying to get there.

    • SO true, Thomas! And you’re right too about some people around you wanting you to stay in debt. We’ve got a list of “go to” people earmarked for support – people we know will tell us to buck up and keep going. It really helps!

  • Wonderful post, Laurie! At first I thought you were going to go into detail about each of the main tenants (budget, track spending, etc.) but I love that you focused on a few other things like learning more and building a support system. I think you are spot on that these additional steps can really contribute to the speed and success of debt pay down.

    • Thanks a lot, DC! I’m probably a bit of an overanalyzer, (sounds like a Seinfeld term, doesn’t it? 🙂 ) but it really helps me to understand how our minds work, at the core, and what pushes us to make bad money decisions to begin with.

  • I really agree with (Continued pursuit of a higher Personal Finance education). Without getting my degree I would never have been able to pay off our debt as fast as we are. It opened so many doors for me and immediately started me on a higher pay packet.

    Nice post 🙂

  • Totally agree with all of that, especially the support system. Joining the PF blogosphere has felt pretty instrumental in us paying off over $100K in debt in the last 14 months.

  • Eating right and exercise produce positive emotions and feelings about oneself. I know my accomplishments through my running have made me confident I can accomplish other goals in my life. It’s the spillover effect.

  • I agree with three and four the most. It is always good to learn more and you really never can stop learning if you try. Also, the support system is a must. When people offer encouragement, they tend to help more people out. That is what my post is about today.

    • Yeah, today’s post was a great one, Grayson. You did a terrific job of being honest as usual. Readers, head on over and check it out. I know for a fact that the support and encouragement we’ve received through family and friends and through the PF blogging world has been an incredible motivation for us to get rid of our debt.

  • I agree Laurie in that it takes digging a little deeper into your life to make real changes which change of the patter of what might have gotten you into debt in the first place. Uh, did that make sense? lol! I find that eating right and exercising makes me feel happier because when I’m sad I tend to spend more to fill a void. Great tips!

    • LOL, yes, I understood it perfectly, which is scary. 🙂 Seriously, though, you’re so right. It’s not just about spending or not spending, it’s about finding out what’s behind the behaviors that leads to true change.

  • I agree that sometimes those you are closest to, especially family, might not share your financial goals or they could be in the same boat but not willing to get themselves out. It’s a fine line between offering support as a friend or family member without always arguing about financial things. The online community can certainly offer tons of support if you need it in that regard.

  • Yeah, we’ve run into that, Kim. We just try and not discuss our journey unless it’s with someone who we know is supporting us, otherwise, we keep our mouths shut as it can often lead to arguments. I know for us that the online community has been a huge help.

  • Derek - MoneyAhoy.com says:

    Spot on post. I think 95% of personal finance is having the right mindset and determination. If someone puts their mind to it, they can dig themselves out of almost any whole with some creativity and flexibility.

  • Monica says:

    Really great article! Having a support system is such an important part of meeting any goal, especially a finanical goal like getting out of debt. It’s important that friends and family know that you’re budgeting and saving money and they’ll understand why you dont’ want to spend $100 on dinner tonight.

  • Jake @ Common Cents Wealth says:

    These are great tips. I think the budget allocation is huge. It’s easy to just say that your budget has to be $X because that’s what you’ve always spent on it. Many times you can get by for cheaper, you just have to push yourself. Having a strong support system is also huge because many times you’ll need to lean on them throughout the process.

    • Great point, Jake. I totally agree about pushing yourself to spend less. It’s not easy, but it can be done. I know that we’ve found it quite easy to live without many things that we thought were “necessities” back in the day. 🙂

  • Matt Becker says:

    Love the advice to eat right and exercise. Feeling good makes it so much easier to make good decisions. Everyone loves a shortcut or a self-indulgence when they’re feeling down, so might as well do what you can to fight it. Great post Laurie!

    • SO true, Matt! Whenever my health isn’t optimum, or I’ve had successive days of junk food all day, I find it so much easier to have a “You only live once” attitude. When I’m taking care of myself, I make better long-term decisions.

  • Great post, Laurie. I think it’s so important to look back at the previous month and see where you did well and where there is room for improvement. I sometimes have the tendency to try to do much at once and it rarely works. I’ll cut back to a horribly restrictive budget and set myself up to fail. I’m getting better about this since I realize this is my default mode when I want to change something. 🙂 Support is so important. The support in the PF world is truly impressive.

  • pauline says:

    I read something about getting sugar through your body to avoid emotional decisions. Actually the post said you would have the same effects just gargling and spitting sugary water. The mind is really strange!

  • Wow, that is interesting! I know that sugar, for me, really messes with my emotions. I work to limit it for that reason.

  • Working on number 1 and number 3 right now. Exercising and eating right are important and they’re sadly overlooked a lot of the time (I know I’m guilty).

  • These are great suggestions. Eating healthy and exercising goes a long way to helping me stay on track with my goals. Thanks for the tip!

  • Peter says:

    Great post Laurie, I’m an advocate of number 1, so crucial. I don’t know why it’s so hard to find that one hour to just go work out. I sometimes find that leak in the ship while I’m exercising.

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