Happy New Year! I hope the holidays were good to you, with lots of family, laughs, and plenty of food. But all that indulgence means only one thing now –- New Year's Resolutions. It's time to shed some weight, and I don't mean from your waistline. Get ready to be a lean, mean, money-saving machine! Paying off our debt was the single most rewarding thing we ever did. From sleepless nights to owning a home, it's a dream that can become a reality with hard work and patience -- if I can do it, you can, too! Let's get into shape this year with a DEBT DIET and lose some unwanted baggage. Here are a few debt-burning tips.
Credit Image: badhesterprynne on Flickr
New Year, New Spending
Every time you pick something up this year at the store, whether it be a lipstick or a new pair of shoes, ask yourself this question, "Do I need it?". It might seem silly at first, but it will soon become a habit that might save your credit card from being maxed out this year. My weakness is sales. How can I turn something down if it's such a great deal?! But a lot of the time when I buy that $20 shirt, it ends up sitting in my closet because I don't like it THAT much. Cutting out impulse sale purchases helped me become leaner financially. I had to decide if I "needed" that new shirt or if I was just buying it because it was on sale.
Start an Automatic Savings Plan
At the start of each year I used to look back at the previous year and kick myself: "Ugh, I should have saved more last year!". It's January –- now is the perfect time to start an Automatic Savings Plan (ASP). You don't need to put away a lot. Try $50 bi-weekly, which won't be that noticeable. It comes out of your account automatically, and if you don't see it, you won't spend it. By this time next year (which will fly by), you'll have $1,300 put aside! Increasing your savings to $80 bi-weekly doesn't seem like much, does it? But in one year, you've now gone from $1,300 to $2,080 (and that's not even including interest that you'll earn!). Hello Mexican Riviera vacation in 2015!
DO IT NOW
When you have debt weighing over your shoulders, it can feel like a mountain that's too steep to climb. What's the use of putting $500 a month towards debt repayment when you owe tens of thousands that will take YEARS to pay off? DO IT NOW! If you started three years ago, the debt may have already been gone this year. Make this the year that you start putting money aside each month towards debt repayment. The light at the end of the tunnel might be two or three years away, but that day will come, and what a glorious feeling that will be! If you don't start, you'll never pay it off. No more procrastination –- make this the beginning of your debt-free life!
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