Becoming Debt Free May Require Lifestyle Changes  

by Alan Farrow

Largely due to widespread advertising, we are continually barraged with the notion that debt isn't such a bad thing. You just swipe your credit card to purchase what you want. With revolving credit and multiple cards, almost anything you want to purchase seems within reach. Consequently, debt can gradually accumulate, adding intense stress to your life. It can also spoil your credit score. This means that in the future when you need a loan, you may be unceremoniously turned down.

However, you have options.

Become Thrifty

Develop a habit of being thrifty. When making purchases, negotiate lower prices in circumstances that permit flexibility. For example shop for best rates when buying a cell phone. Know your cash income and fixed expenses. Develop a budget to account for all your expenses, both regular and emergency. This is applicable even when you have a great paying job; in fact, this is when using a budget may be even more crucial.

Coupon Clipping

Use coupons to save on your groceries and other costs, such as a hair cut at a salon or even hardware supplies. The trade off for use of coupons is a little more time finding and cutting them out. However the financial payoff of real and significant savings over time may raise some eyebrows.

Phone Bills

If you use phone cards, look for charges levied against them. If you make long distance calls, find the best deals and, of course, minimize unnecessary long distance calls where you pay by the minute. Drop membership cards that you rarely use.

Just One Credit Card

Eliminate a wallet full of credit cards and - if applicable - your revolving credit among them. At some strategic point, you will need to make a payment before your card is canceled. Consider the amount that you need to pay. Even annual fees and subscription costs can add up. Plus, interest charges on credit cards are typically very high. So keep one card for necessities, but restrain other unnecessary credit spending habits.

Good vs. Bad Debt

Good debts are those that help you build assets and a greater net worth typically over a lengthy period of time. These include a home, property, some jewelry, commodity investments, and even a college education. Additionally, you might also borrow to creatively develop a product of your own - perhaps for your own small business. Bad debts, on the other hand, are just about anything else that is not likely to increase in value over time. Clothes, tools, most automobiles are examples of that fall into this category. Unless you have money to spare, buying such products on credit simply is not cost effective.

These are only a few of the many simple options you can adopt to move toward a debt free life.

About the Author

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