If you follow me on Instagram you know I am on my debt free journey. And not for the first time *eye roll*. I have quit 3 times before. I’m sharing a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to paying off debt so you can learn from my mishaps and hopefully only need one shot at it.
Total up how much you actually owe. Making peace with your debt number will empower you to take control and determine next steps. Having a large amount of debt can be scary but knowing your full total can help you break the task down into smaller goals.
Review your credit report. Dispute any inaccuracies so you’re not paying off a debt that doesn’t belong to you or is the wrong amount.
Have an emergency fund of at least 1 month’s expenses. When you begin to tackle debt aggressively life is still gonna life. Things happen. Would you rather it be a slight inconvenience or a financial disaster? Read more about building an emergency fund here.
Side hustle. Extra income is a way to reach your money goals faster. There are many ways to make more money. Tap into your interests and think about what you can monetize.
Choose a method to pay off your debt. There are many different ways you can conquer your debt. Two of the most common ways are the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. You can read more about them here.
Stop your retirement contributions. Budget from what you already bring home. This is especially important if your employer gives a match to your contributions. We don’t leave free money on the table!
Skip fun money in your budget. You can only cut so much before you realize your quality of life sucks and you burn out. (Hello, I did it three times). Give yourself an allowance in your budget and throw the extra money at debt.
Close your cards after you pay them off. Credit scores matter over here! And closing your account can negatively impact your score. To learn more about credit scores check out this episode of the Money & Momming Podcast.
Compare your journey to others’. It’s easy to scroll social media and compare your numbers to someone else’s. STOP. You can use that as inspiration to get started and motivation to keep going, but don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.
Let your debt define you. You might have been trying to make ends meet and racked up credit card debt. You might have financed a car with an upside down loan because you needed reliable transportation for your family. Or you could have taken treat yoself a little too far. The reason why isn’t as important as you deciding to do something about it.
Whatever method you choose and however you decide to pay down or pay off your debt, you’re taking that leap and I’m proud of you.
Jasmine, the Founder and CEO of Money & Momming is based in New Jersey. Jasmine is wife, mom, and works full time as a supplier quality engineer in the aerospace industry.