8 Habits to Form that Will Help You Pay Off Your Debt
Becoming debt free is something many people aspire to. It can be a long, hard road, but the rewards are worth it when you’re no longer paying interest and you’ve got more disposable income.
Paying off debt isn’t always simple though. Life is unpredictable, and when money’s tight, it’s not easy to find the money to pay bills. What you’ve got to try to do is stack the odds in your favor, and one of the ways you can do this is by forming good habits.
If you can follow the right processes day after day and month after month, then you will find you’re making inroads on paying off your debt and things will gradually become a little bit easier.
In order to help you pay off your debts more successfully, we’ve put together some important habits you should look to form:
- Financial Planning
- Forward Thinking
Some of these habits you will have already, others might take a little time to develop, but all of them can help you achieve your goal of paying off your debt.
Financial planning is one of the key steps towards taking control of your debt.
When it comes to paying off debt, every little helps, and the best way to find those extra savings is by understanding exactly what you have coming in and going out each month. You want to identify the areas where you can make savings without significantly hurting your quality of life, and you can do this when it’s all set out clearly.
One of your first steps should be to sit down and take a close look at your income and expenses. Categorize every little bit of spending you have and find areas where you can potentially make cuts.
You’re going to have some expenses where there’s no room for savings, but there will be others where you can make cuts. There are some cuts you can make where you will barely notice the difference in your day to day life, but they can make a big difference to how quickly you can pay back your debt.
It might not seem like it, but saving is definitely a habit. It’s something you get used to and the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Your budget will help you with your saving, but you’ve still got to take active steps to ensure you’re following through. One of the ways to do this is by setting up a savings account and automatically putting money in the account each month.
When you have all your money in one account, it’s much easier to be tempted into spending it, but when you have a dedicated savings account or bill paying account, it makes a clear distinction that this money is for saving and not for spending.
It’s a habit that seems obvious if you’re going to pay off your debts, but it’s one that we all need to work on if we’re going to be successful at it.
Late fees are the enemy of paying off your debts quickly and you want to avoid them at all costs. If you’re not on top of your schedule, then it can be quite easy to miss a payment or not have enough money in your account, so it’s important you approach things in an organized way.
One of the ways you can do this is by creating a bill payment calendar so you know exactly what day each bill should be paid. You might pay automatically through direct debit, but you still need to make sure you’ve got enough money in your account, and a bill payment calendar can really help with this.
When you’re working hard to find extra savings to pay off your debt, the last thing you want is for all that hard work to be undone by late fees. So, make sure all your good work isn’t being held back because you’re making late payments.
When you’re not racking up late fees that add to your debt, you’ll find it’s much easier to start paying down the balance.
You might have to make the odd sacrifice in order to start paying off your debt, but it’s important to remember you’re doing it for a better future. If you don’t start getting on top of your debt, then it will only grow, so making some sacrifices today can make a big difference further down the line.
It’s not always easy to make these decisions based on what will happen years down the line, but if you can be forward thinking and concentrate on the future benefits, then it will be much easier to get that motivation.
Keep picturing yourself however many years down the line and what it will be like to be debt free. You’re working hard today to ensure that down the line you’re not going to be spending a big chunk of your paycheck paying off interest.
It’s important to know that you have rights as a debtor. There are laws that are there to protect you, so make sure you find information on debt and consumer protection lawsuit legal help.
If you feel like you are being harassed, then the creditor might be breaking the law. You shouldn’t feel threatened into paying more than you can afford to pay, so make sure you know your rights.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects debtors against overly aggressive creditors, and if you experience any of the following you should talk to your lawyer:
- Receiving calls at inappropriate times in the morning/ late at night
- Creditors pretending to be government agents
- Threats of violence
- Incessant calls so as to intimidate
- Contacting you when you have requested through writing not to be contacted
The easiest thing to do is if you have any questions, contact a lawyer, and they will be able to give you a consultation and give you some helpful advice.
Following all these steps doesn’t necessarily come naturally, but to get the best results, you’ve got to be consistent with them. To do this takes discipline, and it’s something that’s going to help you hugely in paying off your debts.
Small changes, and small savings, repeated over many months really start to add up. For example, if you give up buying a cup of coffee a day for $3.00 then over a working year you’ve saved nearly $800.
Things like not buying a cup of coffee every day might seem simple, but they require a lot of discipline. It’s a habit you always have to keep working on, but it does become easier with time.
Paying off debt isn’t necessarily an easy thing, and you may find there are difficult days. What’s important though is that you keep going and stay positive.
If you keep working at it and keep following the right practices, then you will start to get on top of your debt, and things will get easier. Your determination is what will eventually carry you over the line, so stay resolute and keep working through your debt.
One thing that can help with this is setting goals.
When you have short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals, then you always have something to work towards, and can clearly see your progress. Make sure you’re setting smart goals, that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.
Good goals can give you the motivation you need to keep going, even when things get difficult.
Find Ways to Relax
You can’t let your debt consume you completely, and you’ve got to find ways to relax the mind and body and get away from things for a while.
You’re not going to be able to pay off your debt if you worry so much that you damage your health, so make sure you’re finding time to relax and recharge. Paying off debt takes commitment, but it shouldn’t consume your thoughts for every minute of every day.
Paying off debt, particularly a large one isn’t easy. To help you achieve your goal of erasing your debt, you will have to form some good habits to help you along the way.
None of these habits are unattainable, but they do take practice and hard work.
Getting on top of your debt has to start with good financial planning, so really sit down and take a close look at your finances. Once you know what you’ve got to work with, that’s when you can start to put strategies in place and work on the habits that are going to help you achieve your goals.
There are lots of habits that will help you to achieve your goals, but the following ones are particularly useful:
- Financial planning
- Forward thinking
You won’t develop these skills overnight, but you can keep improving them each and every day until eventually you’ve payed off your debt.