How to Stay Out of Credit Card Debt
It can be seriously hard work to stay out of debt. But I think the freedom that comes with it is so worth any sacrifice you make to get there. And even if you have some debt it’s not too late to make some changes in order to become debt free! Here is a list of 10 habits to get out of debt and stay that way.
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1. They stop caring about what people think
I’ve heard it all.
Some people call me cheap, some laugh when they hear me talking about my latest clearance find, some just roll their eyes.
But if I’m being honest, I would rather have someone snicker at my frugal ways than find myself wondering how we’re going to pay a bill or go without something we couldn’t afford at full price. So I stopped caring. Cause ain’t nobody got time for that.
2. They drink at home
Have you ever gone out for date night and bought a mixed drink or 2 to have with dinner?
And have you noticed how it almost doubles your bill?
I’m not saying we don’t splurge once in awhile, but my husband and I rarely purchase alcohol when we eat out because of the huge difference it makes in our total. For the price you paid for that single glass of wine you can easily buy an entire bottle. Better yet, find a BYOB restaurant where you can bring your own cheap bottle of wine.
I’ve always preferred to spend my money on food anyway! Plus, I’m not sophisticated enough to know the difference between the $6 bottle and the $80 bottle.
3. They cut the cord on their cable
Are you still paying for cable TV and all of those channels you don’t watch?
Several years ago we said goodbye to cable and haven’t looked back since. With a one time purchase of a Roku and a subscription to hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime we pay far less than we ever did for a cable tv package.
4. They use a budgeting tool
People who stay out of debt not only know where their money goes, but they are the ones telling it where to go. By using a budgeting app you can take control by giving every dollar a job. Then the trick is sticking to your budget.
You’ll have to make some adjustments along the way as you figure out a realistic budget that works for you. But this habit may be the most critical in your efforts to stay out of debt.
5. They prioritize spending
This tip is a lot easier once you have taken a good look at your monthly expenses, which is where a good budgeting tool comes in.
But the basic concept is that you pay your bills or your “have-to’s” first, then you pay off debt, then you stash away for savings, then you use what’s left for discretionary spending (eating out, entertainment, etc.).
This habit ensures that you always have what you need to pay a bill and when there is extra leftover it feels a whole lot better to spend it because you know you can!
6. They have patience
Sure, you can buy something as soon as you want it, but you’re probably going to pay full price or you may not have enough cash to cover the expense yet.
And you know what that means? You guessed it… credit card debt.
Sometimes the best way to avoid debt is by waiting until something goes on sale or by stashing away cash little by little until you can pay for something outright. A little patience goes a long way if you’re trying to avoid going into debt.
7. They buy used
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, right?
I have saved thousands of dollars by buying useful used items from garage sales, craigslist, and facebook marketplace. Whether it be furniture, clothing, toys, or tools, you can find almost anything second hand and at a significantly reduced price.
8. They pay off credit cards every month
This one is so important! You may think you’re in good shape if you can afford to make the minimum payment on your credit card each month, but you’re most likely throwing pennies at a mound of debt you will never pay off. Not to mention that you could actually be paying for the things you bought many times over when you factor in interest.
9. They pay with cash
As Dave Ramsey would say, it hurts more to pay with cash than it does to pay with plastic. There is an emotional response we have when handing over cash that makes us think twice about spending.
So if you really need that extra push to spend less, try paying for your day to day expenses with cash for a few months (groceries, eating out, clothing). You might be surprised how it changes your spending habits.
10. They sell items they no longer need
If you look around your house and dig into your closets, I guarantee you will find more than a few things you don’t use anymore that still have some value.
I have sold everything from shoes to furniture to kitchen utensils by posting items online. I have had the best luck with my local Facebook yard sale pages but I have also used Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Poshmark.
Doing this not only puts extra cash in your wallet, but helps you declutter while you’re at it.
I hope you’ll give some of these a try if you haven’t already. Which one could you start with this week to get you on the right track?
What other steps have you taken in order to stay out of debt?