Imagine this. Your credit card is maxed out. You bought a house on mortgage and purchased a car on financing. You are still clearing your student loan. It sounds like a one-way ticket to financial hell, right? Sadly, this is the reality of many of us.
Debt is an alarming problem in America.
One day, you are happy about all the materialistic things that you got. And the next day, Bam! Before you know it, you are hit by the debt train that leaves you feeling like a financial wreck.
Paying minimum dues can lure you into a false sense of security. Wake up and smell the coffee! Clearing minimum dues will make no real dent in your debt. Once you realize that debt is holding you back from living the life you deserve, it is just a beginning towards the long road to financial freedom.
When you prioritize being debt-free above everything else, you will have to sacrifice a few luxuries of life that put hurdles on the path to financial freedom. To get rid of debt, you need to commit to these six sacrifices:
1. Choose public transport over the car
Are you someone who needs a car every time you step out of the house? It’s time to lock your car in a garage and choose public transport instead. Not only does public transport saves you the money that you spend on gas, but it also gives you an option to switch from full coverage auto insurance to parking insurance that is way cheaper than the comprehensive coverage of the car on the road. Once you have paid off your debt, you can easily switch back to the comprehensive, on-the-road coverage.
2. Put the credit card in a locker and hide the key
Credit cards are great as they provide us a line of credit to use and allows us to pay at a later date. But the worst thing about them is that you never know how much debt you have accumulated till that credit card bill arrives. Since your hand involuntarily reaches for the credit card every time you have to pay, you accumulate more debt, and that beats the effort you are putting to be debt-free. It’s time to ditch the credit card and use cash for buying things. When you use currency, you get an idea of how much balance you have. So, you never go overboard with spending.
3. Full stop to eating out
We lead a busy life with no time to spend cooking in the kitchen. We order food from restaurants every other day. And on weekends, we all love to let our hair down and indulge in drinks & dinner with friends and family. Well, too bad! All this needs to stop. Most of us spend a significant amount of our salaries on eating out. Try cooking at home instead! I know meal prep sounds like a lot of hard work and investment of time, but it can save you a ton of money that you can use to pay off debt.
4. Less Netflix, more work
An average Joe spends 1 hour and 11 minutes every day watching Netflix. That’s close to 10 hours wasted every week that could have been spent doing something productive. And, let’s face it. Saving money and cutting corners can only take you so far in repaying your debt. Think about working overtime or taking up a part-time gig to earn more money on the side. Limit your screen time and get working.
5. Say goodbye to impulsive shopping
We all have been victims of impulsive shopping. I am talking about the moment of clouded judgment when we feel that we need that new dress or those branded shoes. But here’s the truth: You don’t need those things. While hiding the credit card does limit your abilities to impulsively shop online, how do you control the urge to buy everything you lay your eyes on when you go to a brick and mortar store? That’s why you need to create a budget and follow it religiously. When you are serious about shopping within your budget, you’re less likely to give in to impulses.
6. Less socializing with spendthrift friends
Every group of friends has a person who loves to splurge. From ordering exotic food at expensive restaurants to taking impromptu trips that cost a bomb, they have done it all. But that’s not the worst part. They want you to participate in their money splurging activities! Learn to say no to such friends as they will dig a hole in your pocket and leave you with more debt than before. Also, it is advisable to limit your social media time as your friends’ check-ins, travel pictures and purchases might distract you from your goal of a debt-free life.