Being debt-free is within your reach, it's just a few sacrifices away.
For many people, becoming debt-free is nothing less than a utopia. It represents that ideal situation where you don’t need to keep track of the due dates of your loan instalments from one day to the next. Because you cannot wish away your debts, the indebted often look at the state of being debt-free as a mirage that is often reserved for travellers in the desert.
Yet, there’s more to being debt-free than is apparent at first. Debt usually occurs because you’re spending more than you can earn. In other words, you’re in debt because you’re likely to be living a lifestyle that you cannot afford. This realisation makes getting out of debt easier. To get rid of your debt, often, all you need to do is to live within your means. This may involve making sacrifices.
Getting rid of your debts is a choice entirely in your control
Dealing with debt often means months of anxiety and tension. But, you can certainly find ways for remedying the situation. For example, if you’re serious about obtaining freedom from debt, would you be willing to temporarily forgo certain comforts or luxuries? It's worth highlighting that becoming debt-free is not impossible. Oftentimes, it simply boils down to how badly you want it.
What are you willing to give up to get back in control?
Would you give up your possessions?
How comfortable would you be if you had to manage without a television? Or a computer? Or that latest iPhone or Blu-ray player? It might seem hard initially, yet, it's not impossible. Giving up your television altogether does not just get you some extra cash in hand. It also means that you won’t need to shell out the charges for subscription TV each month. You can also look at lower cost options to continue your TV viewing habits — take a look at the possibilities offered by Internet TV providers.
You might want to retain your computer and your Blu-ray player. But, do you really need to upgrade to the latest iPhone? You can also take a look at switching to a lower cost mobile phone plan to help you save money.
Would you give up your house?
How comfortable would you be selling your large house and moving to a smaller one? People often buy large houses because they feel they will need the space. Yet, most can manage just as easily in a smaller space too. If you have ample equity in your house, you can consider putting it up for sale. If you’re struggling to meet your daily expenses, renting a property or even one of your spare rooms might be more cost-effective than paying a mortgage.
Selling your house to repay your debts essentially boils down to a single aspect — do you prefer being debt-free as opposed to being out of the property market for some time. The following options might be worth giving thought to as well.
- Selling your house and renting it back from the buyer (this will save moving charges, too) or,
- Keeping your current house and rent it out, while moving to a smaller house.
Would you give up your vehicle?
Owning a vehicle is certainly a convenience. Yet, it comes with its own recurring expenses for gas and maintenance. Assuming that your car is in a good shape, you could consider selling it. The money would be useful for repaying your debt. You could use public transport for commuting to work or for errands. Consider the following before you sell:
- If you want to keep your car, consider what's available to you. Services like GoGet and CarNextDoor promote car sharing, whereby you can lease out your own car for extra cash during the week, or rent a car for a day or even a few hours when you need one.
- If you do want to sell, make sure it's cost-effective. Think of the area you live in and see if it is cheaper to sell your car rather than pay for public transport every week. Remember to factor in petrol, insurance, maintenance and the like.
Would you give up your comforts?
Oftentimes, when people live beyond their means, they make several purchases that they don’t end up using. For example, some people purchase expensive memberships at the local gym. Curb the unnecessary expenses by giving up your membership. To stay fit, consider walking or jogging.
Similarly, consider cutting down on dining out and those cups of coffee you "cannot do without". Buy coffee and keep it at work — you'd be surprised how much money you'll save. Eat healthy, home-cooked food instead of eating out all the time. Similarly, take your lunch to work too. Are you paying higher premiums for excessive coverage? Use this time to make sure your cover and your premiums more realistic and affordable.
These are all general tips, but if you look at your expenses you'll see some places where you can really stand to save.
Would you give up your time?
After work, many people relish the time they have in the afternoons or evenings. They typically use this for completing their errands or for spending quality time with the family. If the debt you’ve accumulated gnaws at you though, your anxiety and stress levels will be high. To alleviate them, consider taking a part-time job temporarily. This doesn't have to be a stress-adder, in fact, it can give you time to indulge in a passion of yours. Doing so would also enable you to earn some additional cash. In short, you could move to a zero-debt scenario more rapidly than you had initially thought.Back to top
Have you considered consolidating your debts?
People use credit for a variety of reasons these days. As a result, it is often easier to get into debt than to get out of it. When your debts are mounting rapidly, keeping a track of due dates and instalments for all your loans can be difficult. This could see you lose additional money by paying interest, fees or penalties.
Avoid the possibility of such a scenario by consolidating your debts. Debt consolidation enables you to combine all your existing loans into a single account. In many cases, you could even benefit from this by securing lower interest rates when you consolidate.
In addition, managing your finances can become a lot easier too. Instead of keeping track of multiple loans, instalments, repayment dates etc., you could simply opt for debt consolidation and deal with one lender, one instalment and one due date. So, it can make sense to consolidate all your debts into one rather than compounding your woes with multiple loans and lenders.