How to become debt free

Becoming debt-free doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning and commitment. It also takes a certain personality type – or a willingness to adopt personality traits that will support your behaviour in reaching your goal. Here are some debt management practices and tips from those who pay down their debt successfully:

Be patientdebt-free

Unless you come into a cash windfall, paying down debt is something that you’ve got to do a little bit at a time – possibly over a long time period. You’ve got to be patient and realize that every little step you take is eventually going to carry you to your debt-free goal.

Be forgiving

Be forgiving – of yourself, mostly. There will be times that your best laid plans will be diverted by unexpected expenses or life events. Don’t let a minor setback derail your overall goal. You’ve got to have the depth to see bumps in the road as they are – not as failures to reach your goal.

Be accountable

Who’s going to get you debt-free? You are. That means taking responsibility for your money management actions – good or bad. Accountable people are far more likely to link their actions to their overall goal – which means a greater chance of reaching it.

Be strategic

Be strategic, yes – but be sure to include a dose of flexibility in that strategy. You’ve got to build a detailed plan (not just “pay down debt”) that involves specific amounts on specific debts (hint: attack one debt at a time). You’ve also got to have the ability to consider the success of your strategy, and be willing to tweak it as needed over time.

Live and breathe your goal

There is a fine balance between letting your goal consume your life and slowly and reasonably working towards your goal. Changing your behaviour (i.e. spending less, sacrificing and paying closer attention to needs and wants) may not always be easy, and it should not stress you out. Eventually, these new, positive habits will become seamless.  If you’ve got the right plan in place and if you are willing to commit to your goal, you’ll get there!