It may simply be a mortgage on your home or a few medical bills. Or you may have several credit cards that are maxed out. Maybe you owe your parents or in-laws money.
No matter what the debt, it is wise to get out of debt as quickly as you can.
"Let no debt remain outstanding except for the continuing debt to love one another," (Romans 13:8 NIV).
Here are some ways to get out of debt.
Cancel the Credit Card
Credit cards are so tempting. Yes, many people use credit cards and pay them off each month. But, if you are in debt, then you probably don't have the self-control to use credit cards wisely. So, until you pay off your debt, cut your credit cards in half or freeze them. Either way, stop using them. Call the credit card companies and cancel your card, if possible.
Eliminate Non-Essential Expenses
Eliminate everything you don't need. Here are some ideas of non-essentials items to cut out of your life.
- Cable TV
- Eating out at restaurants
- Going to movies
- Buying new clothing, unless absolutely needed
Spending money without a plan will get you in trouble. Spending a little here and there adds up to a larger amount of money than you can imagine. Make a list of your sources of income and your expenses. Remember your expenses need to be less than your income.
Sources of Income
- Rent from rental properties
- Garage sales and other sales
- Household Bills (electric, water, sewer, gas, phone)
- Mortgage or Rent
- Food & Toiletries
- Clothing & Shoes
- Tuition & Education Expenses
- Insurance (health, auto, car)
- Car Repairs
- Health & Medical Care
- Dental Visits
- Retirement Savings
- College & Vacation Savings
- Other (haircuts, gym membership, gifts, cards, eating out, movies, photographs, books)
- Car, Appliance, Furniture, & Other Short-Term Savings
- Debt Payments
We have two budgets: a normal budget and a bare-bones budget. When income is normal and life is somewhat normal, we stick to this budget, but if we are in an economic crunch or saving short-term for something extremely important (like a missions trip), we switch to our bare-bones budget. This budget contains just the bare essentials to survive without any frills (entertainment, eating out, buying clothing).
Pay Bills Online and Use Cash for the Rest
Save a Little Each Month
It doesn't have to be a large amount of money. Five or ten dollars a month is better than nothing. It is a habit you are building. This pattern of putting a little bit aside each month is one that will bring prosperity to your home when your debts are paid off.
Make a Debt Repayment Plan
Make a plan to pay off your debts. Make this a passionate dream that captivates your time and attention. Have garage sales and use the money to pay off debts. Sell things you don't need anymore and put the money toward debt elimination. Give your time and attention toward this goal.
Start with a small debt and work hard to eliminate it completely. After that debt is paid off, go to the next smallest and pay that one off completely. It will encourage you to have one or two debts paid off and help you to stay the course until they are all paid off.
Be Faithful and Don't Give Up
You will be tempted to give up when you are working on paying off your debts. Don't give up. Stay the course and be faithful. Persevere! God will be with you and help you. You will find miraculous provision to use toward paying off your debts. Make sure you use this provision to pay off debt. Don't use this money on more stuff. Focus on paying off the debt. The more focused you are, the quicker the debt will be gone.
It is my prayer that this year, you will pay off your debts and enjoy the peace that comes from living debt-free.
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)