The Avoid Debt Secret
Financial talking heads on television and radio try to tell you how to get out of debt, stay out of debt, or what dance steps to use to avoid debt. Just about everything they say is the wrong thing. I don't mean they are lairs and you should ignore them. Actually, many of their ideas do make sense.
They are wrong when talking about debt because they say "live within your means". By focusing on this phrase, what they are not telling you becomes a secret - the true secret to avoiding debt. Do you want to know the secret? If you didn't, why are you reading this?
The secret to getting out of debt and avoiding debt again is Living below your means.
I'm serious that this is the true secret to staying out of debt. If you live within your means you are spending everything you take in. While this avoids going deeper into debt, it will not dig you out of debt or keep you out. Living within your means is like walking on a treadmill, you work hard but you fail to go anywhere.
How do you live below your means? The best way is to create a spending plan. This can be a simple hand written graph listing your expenses or it can be as complex as a fancy computerized program tracking every dollar you spend through PDA and laptops. I prefer the Spending Plan Creator at Slave2Work.com, it's flexible enough to be used on your computer, or to be printed out.
Why is living below your means so important? When you live below your means you are generating a surplus amount of money each month. This surplus is money you use to pay extra on your debts until you are debt free. This surplus can be used to build an Emergency Fund, develop a savings plan for your children's college or prepare for your retirement. Living below your means is the real secret to personal financial success. It also will not come easy. We people like to live as high on the hog as we can. However, this doesn't help us have a surplus each month. You might have to make some difficult decisions to produce a steady supply of surplus money each month.
How difficult of decisions? You may have to sell your house and move into a smaller rental. Perhaps you will sell one car, stop eating out except for special occasions, come home from work instead of stopping by the bar or even taking on a second job. Be careful of the second job, though. It comes with more taxes, stress and its own set of issues.
When you are done reading, I want you to think about what you can do to start creating a surplus this month. What plans are you going to make, and steps you will take to provide a surplus to pay off your debt and begin a regular savings program?
After you have thought about them, go talk to your spouse about creating a surplus. When you are done talking, writing the surplus creating plan down and hang it on your refrigerator. If the two of you work together, you will be able to conquer your debts and put your family back on a secure financial footing.