4 easy steps to get and stay out of debt

Finance

Eliminating student, credit card, and other debts can take time and persistence.

According to El Paso financial advisor Brian Mirau, the first thing is to take inventory to determine who you owe and how much.

The best way to get started is with a debt worksheet that can help you keep track of balances, due dates, minimum payments, and interest rates. 

“You want to figure out where your spending your money and what you actually need and then figure out what you don’t need and eliminate that out of your monthly budget,” said Mirau.

Next, he suggests getting a lower rate. Credit card debt is difficult to pay off because of the high interest rates.

Also, being disciplined is key to spend less than you earn. Track your expenses to see what you spend your money on, then cut out the things you don’t need.

“Many people fall into the trap of wanting it today rather than waiting until they can afford it and then pay for it or saving up the money,” said Mirau.

Once you’re ready to start attacking debt, start by paying off the debt with the lowest interest. 

“Really what happens is you start building momentum as you start paying off this debt, it’s kind of like a snowball rolling down the hill,” said Mirau. 

For those who have college debt, Mirau said the best way to get it paid off fast is to continue living the college lifestyle even once our out of college. That way, you won’t carry that debt into your thirties. 

Four debt-attacking steps to remember:

1. Take inventory to find out how much you owe. 
2. Get a lower rate high-interest rates are harder to pay off. 
3. Spend less than you earn. Make sure to track your expenses to see what you’re spending your money on.
4. Start a snowball. Start by paying off of your debt that has the lowest balance and works your way up.

Follow these steps and soon, you’ll be on the road to living debt free. 

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