You may not realize it, but the money you’ve borrowed in the past is holding your future captive. And the only way to get it back is by defeating debt once and for all.
We live in a culture soaked in debt. People around you borrow money for all kinds of things without even thinking about it. And if you’re like the average person, you grew up thinking that debt was normal, necessary or even good. In fact, you may think it’s impossible to accomplish anything significant in life without borrowing money.
But here’s the hard truth: Debt isn’t good for you at all. It’s keeping you down and holding you back from the life of freedom you were made for.
Don’t believe me? Check out something the Bible says about debt in Proverbs 22:7 —
The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Here’s why defeating debt is so crucial: As long as you owe someone money, you’re a slave to them.
How is this? Because when you owe someone money, you give up some control over your life. The work you doesn’t benefit you — it benefits them, because you have to use the money you earn to pay your debts (and the interest you accrue). And the more money you borrow, the more likely you are to get into cycles of debt that can completely dominate your life.
Fortunately, there is a way out of the slavery of debt and the stress it creates in your life. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
But first, I want to tell you about Stress-Free Finance, a free program we have created to help you make sense of your overwhelming financial life. This five-part video series has short, simple lessons to help you solve money problems so you can stop worrying and build a better future.
Here’s a preview of the free video series:
Now, back to the topic at hand:
If you’re ready to start defeating debt in your life, here’s a straightforward process to help you get there.
Step 1: Stop borrowing.
When you find yourself with a problem, you’ll never be able to solve it until you stop the behavior that caused the problem in the first place. When you’re in debt, the first step to getting out is to stop borrowing.
Here’s the truth: Even when money is tight or you’re facing a difficult situation, borrowing doesn’t solve your problems. It actually makes them worse.
What does this mean practically? First and foremost, you need to make a good budget that will help you see where you’re overspending. If you stop spending more than you’re making, you won’t need to borrow money to cover the difference.
The other thing you need to do is to get rid of your credit cards, which can contribute to careless spending. You’ll still have to pay the balances on those cards, of course. But if you stop using them, you can’t run that balance up higher. So switch to cash or a debit card for your everyday purchases.
Step 2: Create a strategic plan.
Once you stop borrowing, you can start doing the heavy lifting of paying back the money you owe. This is an essential part of defeating debt. But if you do it without a solid plan, it can be extremely frustrating.
Making only the minimum payments on your debts is practically pointless. It will takes many years for you to get out of debt that way, and you’ll end up paying much more in interest than what you borrowed in the first place.
Instead, you need a smart plan that helps you focus your payments and make progress quickly. A popular plan we recommend is the Debt Snowball: You prioritize your debts by size, make minimum payments on all but the smallest, and then focus all your effort on paying the smallest one off as quickly as possible. Once that one is paid off, you take the money you were paying on that and move down to your next smallest.
Over time, the Debt Snowball method will help you knock your debts off quickly and stay energized as you work toward defeating debt for good. And you can get there even faster with personalized help to implement the Debt Snowball in your financial life.
Step 3: Don’t give up.
I won’t sugarcoat it: For many people, defeating debt takes several years of work. The bigger your balance, the longer you’ll spend paying it back. But no matter how long it’s taking or how slow the process feels, the most important thing you can do is to keep moving forward.
There will be moments in your debt-free journey that will feel like setbacks. You might make some mistakes in budgeting. You may slip up and make an unwise purchase. You may even lose steam, become demoralized and think about quitting.
But don’t quit. The feelings of frustration are temporary. But the freedom that comes when you pay of your last debt is forever. And that’s worth much more than the price you’ll pay to get there.