This week I want to share some wonderful stories and experiences I read from Clark Howard’s new book, Living Large for the Long Haul. In it, he shares the stories of over 50 different people from all socio-economic backgrounds who have improved their finances even through The Great Recession.
Paying Off $40,000 of Debt
One of my favorites stories was Joyce and Don Fondren who worked together as a team to pay down $40,000 in 2 years. It started with the couple listening to Clark Howard’s show on the radio evening. During the show, they heard about NFCC.org (National Foundation for Credit Counselling) and got the idea to get their debts in order. Using a local affiliate of the organization, they were able to drastically lower their interest rate, making more of their monthly payments go towards paying down the principle instead of treading water with interest payments.
They also made the cjoice to avoid getting into more debt by shredding their credit cards. They’re on track to be completely debt free in another couple of years, but they have already paid off about half of it.
Paying Down Debt Quickly and Easily
Many people get into debt, not from lack of financial knowledge (99% of us know to spend less than we earn), but they get into habits and behaviors which sabotage their finances.
Basically when paying down debt, it comes down to:
- Learn the Exact Amounts of Your Debt and Your Budget: Having the exact numbers can be powerful and eye-opening in some cases. Seeing how much debt in you’re in can motivate you to get rid of your high interest debt on the credit cards.
- Set Up a Payment Plan You Can Keep: You can compare your money habits in the past and see where your money leaks are so you can redirect that money to a debt snowball. You may find that transferring your debt to a no interest credit card can help you save money.
- Stay Motivated and Reward Your Achievements: Staying motivated while paying down debt usually means celebrating milestones.
Everyone has their own methods to staying motivated with paying down debt. I’m grateful that my husband and I are working together on getting rid of this student loan. Before I started writing about our family’s finances, I was reading and being encouraged by others sharing their financial struggles and victories online. I also love to read and some of my financial books have proved useful as I tried to find ways to cut back on needless expenses and stay focused on eliminating debt.
Having a system in place can keep you on track with your financial goals.