My #1 money tip for getting out of debt


#1

There are a LOT of wickedly awesome tips and techniques for climbing your way out of debt, but none more important than this one (in my humble opinion):

You need to want it!

It’s easy to say that you want to be debt free. It is an admirable goal, no doubt. But without entering the game mentally to see this goal through to the end, you probably won’t make it. Becoming debt free is a mind game as much as it is a savings game. If we want things bad enough, we tend to do the things necessary to make them happen.

Want it, baby. Want it!

What say you? What’s your #1 tip for getting out of debt?


#2

Develop a budget plan for sure!


#3

My number one tip is to do one thing at a time with all your focus! If it’s getting out of debt, then you need to create tunnel vision so that you can get out of debt! Can’t wait to see more replies and what others come up with!


#4

You definitely need to want it, and if you’re married so does your spouse. If you’re not on the same page, good luck.

I’d also add to set milestones and celebrate. If you’re paying off lots of different debts it is easy to celebrate when one entire debt is paid off. If you’re like us and only have a mortgage left, the milestones can be dropping below a certain level or getting net worth above a certain level.

We’re about to dip below $200k in mortgage debt and about to cross over $600k in net worth - both are worth celebrating!


#5

Mindset/ mental piece is a big one. The math is easy. Identifying and breaking those bad habit might be tougher than you think.


#6

Agreed - a budget plan is critical to making progress…at least knowing where your money is going first.

Smart. Smart indeed.

Definitely agree - in fact, I wrote a blog post about this very topic several months ago. Celebrate the small things, because it keeps us smiling. It keeps us going.

Breaking bad habits is real, real tough. But once that snowball gets rolling, things instantly get so much easier. The key is to just get it rollin’!


#7

Great topic, there are so many…getting rid of ALL revolving credit products would be one of my top. Lines of credit, credit cards, term it all out into fixed loans. If needed, keep a credit card with a very small limit. Revolving credit is way too tempting to dip back into, and the balances never seem to go down.


#8

It’s so true, @MysteryMoneyMan. The cheap availability of revolving credit in this country is literally _killing American retirement, as I know it is in other parts of the world as well. Excellent money tip!


#9

I agree with you Steve. I’d embellish to say you’ve got to want it so strongly that there is no question of your not achieving it.

When we took out a mortgage, there was never a question over whether we wanted to be debt free, only how it would happen.


#10

Break the big stuff into simple measurable goals that are within reach (in both time and money sense).

I’m gonna tackle this big huge pile of debt with no time frame…

vs.

I’m gonna save an extra $500 bucks this month and put it towards debt

Easy Peasy


#11

Great answers so far, so I’ll try to go with something a bit different:

Pretend you never get a raise and apply any raise you actually get immediately toward paying down your debt

This is one way we ensure we’re not going to suffer from lifestyle inflation and allows us to quickly build up some sizeable monthly momentum on paying down our debt.

I put this out there in my second Keep Thrifty blog post:


#12

Such a great idea Chris!


#13

I used that tip when I was younger to increase my 401k contribution every year, until I hit the federal maximum. Except I did half the raise into the 401k so it still felt like I got a raise


#14

Wow there’s a lot of good ones and picking 1 is not that simple. I think you have to really look at your life and see whats going to work best for you. You may even screw up and have to go down a different path/try a couple different ways before getting there…
For us and quite a few other people, it was:
Dave Ramsey - Total Money Makeover. Its extreme but you have to be ready to get extreme and deal with the issues at hand.
Budgeting - we copied Dave’s outta of his book, then took J$'s and modded it, then wound up creating our own which we have stuck with for quite some time now.
Being intentional with your $ - Know what, where, when, why you’re spending your $ on.
.


#15

To quote Dumb and Dumber “Just the Bare Essentials”.


#16

My #1 money tip is if you are a dual income family is to dedicate one income for living expenses while the other income (usually the higher one) is being used to pay off debt. This disciplines you to live on one income should something happen in the future e.g. layoff or if one spouse would you like to stay at home for the kids. We did this and were able to pay off a $200k mortgage in 5 years 1 month.


#17

Good topic! I think @steve nailed #1. I feel that in order for someone to really make progress on getting out of debt you need three things:

  1. A desire. You gotta want it! Badly.
  2. A goal. The answer to ‘what will you do once you’re debt free?’ is a great goal to set for yourself.
  3. A plan. A desire & goal w/out a plan is a daydream. The steps you need to take to reach your goal = your strategy for making that dream a reality.

#18

Agree with @Steve! You have to get your mind right to follow through on the goal. You have to want it. I would add you have to have a solid reason to want it - or a “why”. My why is what keeps me going when motivation wanes.


#20

easy… make more money!


#21

My tip - don’t borrow for anything.

American addiction to credit is very peculiar and entirely unnecessary. There is no good reason to borrow, except maybe housing and only in certain situations.