Smart living, debt free
There is so much talk about doing things “smarter” these days. We have smart phones, we work smart, we even play smart! These are all cute ideas, but what about the areas in life where it’s crucial that we’re being smart? Like managing our debt?
Today we want to share with you ten quick and dirty tips to get you on track to smart living, debt free. These tips are all things that you can start doing straight away, or at least start thinking about. And since we’re talking about being smart (and cute), here’s an acronym to help you remember the tips: D O W N S I Z E M E. We’ll run through each point below. There is no way we’ll be able to cover everything in this one post, so make sure you bookmark the site or join the mailing list to get updates as we cover more and more topics.
Here we go…
D – Don’t look back, look forward. By all means, use your past experiences as good learning. As with many things in life, the best way to start managing your debt is to take positive action, and this means looking forward. What can you do from now? What is your future financial plan? Asking yourself these questions is much more productive for downsizing your debt than beating yourself up (again) for that big credit card bill.
O – Organize yourself. This means budget time. Start by writing a list of all your outgoings (including that coffee you’re gonna have tomorrow morning), down to the last penny. Start thinking about: how does this stack up against your income? Is there any wriggle room? We’re going to talk a lot more about budget in later posts: there are so many cool things you can do to be smarter with it. You can start by checking out cheap meal ideas at 5 dollar dinners.
W – Win the race, consider consolidating your debt. Combining all you debts into one payment means you won’t get left behind trying to keep track of multiple payments. There are pros and cons to this, which will be covered in another post.
N – Now! Start acting now! The faster you take action to take control of your debt, the quicker you will pay it off and the less interest you will have to pay. What have you got to lose?
S – Sell stuff. This is a quick, easy way to get yourself a bit of extra income (and declutter your house… I can’t stand clutter!). You could try eBay or Craigslist, have a yard sale, or find a local market to take things along to. You might not make your fortune, but you’ll get a bit of cash and a clearer house = clearer mind (and more room in your mind to focus on debt).
I – Increase your income. You might have tried the tip above to sell stuff. But if you really want to pay debts off super quick, it makes sense to get yourself some extra income, right? We’re going to talk a LOT more about this in later posts. In fact, it is so important, we’ll probably dedicate a whole section of the website to it! To give you a wee taste of what’s possible, here’s a link to a free online course Em is following to generate some extra income to help us pay down our mortgage.
Z – Zip it! Put that wallet away! Start thinking of ways to entertain yourself for free. Remember the organize yourself tip above? Stop any unnecessary spending. Some examples of what we do in our daily lives are: have a pot luck dinner with friends instead of going to a restaurant. Go for a walk instead of going to the mall (this ones’ better for your body too, double win!). Purchase vouchers for things like cinema tickets and meals out. We buy books of movie tickets: this brings the cost of going to the movies down from $19 to $10 (this is in New Zealand), this makes it almost two for the price of one! Bargain.
E – Extra cash. Maybe you won a wee bit with a lottery ticket (lucky old you), maybe you had a pay rise at work. Heck, maybe you just found $20 in the street! Whatever it is, this extra cash is money you did not have before, and the best way to spend it is to put it straight onto your debt. Say you got a pay rise that was only $20 per week. If you used that to go straight onto a mortgage payment instead of funding your Friday night drinks, you could potentially slash years off your mortage. For $20 per week! (Don’t worry, we’ll talk more about mortgages in other posts too).
M – Mortgage. If you have one, it’s probably your largest debt. Make it your business to really understand your mortgage structure, and how your payments work. What are your interest rates like? Can you get a better deal? As mentioned above, can you pay off any extra now? Even a teeny bit? Like I said, we’ll talk more about mortgages moving forward.
E – Employ yourself. As we go through life, we each gather our own sets of skills and passions. You can use these to become your own boss and make some money! Don’t worry if you’ve got no idea how to go about this at the moment. We’ll cover it in more posts. Just start thinking about what you’re good at, and what you enjoy. Then we’ll help you turn that into money you can use to pay off your debt. Cool, huh?
Get started now
Go on, the sooner you get into this, the sooner you’ll be out of debt. Look forward, be proactive, make your own luck.
Make sure to leave us a comment below if you enjoyed the post, or want to share what you’re going to start with to downsize your debt.
Andy and Em