One of the biggest pieces of advice that you’ll read when you look up ideas for paying off debt is that you have to give up the frilly, meaningless things like your daily coffee in order to be debt free. The thing is that, while that is definitely a tactic that you can use, it’s not the only way. There are people that love coffee with all of the extra ingredients and don’t want to give that up. No matter how in debt you are, you can keep your little vice and still make your way to a debt-free life. It’s not hard, but with a little effort you can do it, and here’s how.
Of course no one likes to owe people money. It’s a horrible feeling, but remember that you’re here for a reason. You needed to pay the bills at the time, you wanted that dress so badly you’re willing to pay for it with credit, you needed to go to school, etc. The reasons might not all be life or death, but for whatever circumstance it was, you needed that credit card. Alleviating yourself of that guilt is the first thing you need to do. Next, recognize that this is going to take time. It would be ideal to just save really hard for a few months and then pay it all off, but if you have thousands of dollars to pay off it just isn’t likely, especially when you want to keep your coffee. Realizing this takes away the stress that you feel about how much money you have to pay.
If you have more than one card, find out which one has the lowest interest rate and put all of your debt onto it if you can. It will be scary, maxing out a card, but it will save you a lot of money in the long-run. Despite feeling like you’re better off with more than one thing to pay off because it means that you have room to spend in an emergency, you’re actually not helping future you at all. Even putting as much as you can onto the lowest interest card and then a bit on the higher interest one will save you cash.
Avoid Saving Up
Many people have some sort of jar or piggy bank that they put their spare change in in hopes of saving up a good chunk of money to pay off something. You’re actually hurting yourself here. As soon as you get money, put it towards a payment. The longer it sits around the longer your debt will stay the same. Having it in a jar isn’t the same as having it in the bank, you’ll still have payment dates and if they pop up you’ll pay interest. If it helps, have someone else take your money to the bank. It can be hard giving up what extra money you have, but remember your coffee and make the decision to keep that treat around instead of having extra cash on hand.
Now this is advice that we can all agree on. Sitting down and budgeting out what you make vs. what you need monthly can be a lifesaver. Having it all planned out shows you exactly how much wiggle room you have when it comes to buying the things like coffee. It also shows you how much you can afford to pay off per month. The greatest thing is calculating how long it will take you to become debt-free and working toward that goal. This timeline holds you accountable, because you know how upset you’d be with yourself if you failed to reach your prize of an even ledger. Even getting close can excite you and inspire you to save more just so you can pay everything off. After you do that, you won’t have to worry about buying coffee every day. Instead just freeze your cards (in the freezer, really) and then enjoy not owing anyone any money.