What’s inside: 5 pro tips to live and stay debt free; sponsored by Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt.
Despite how much I love the holidays, it’s always a relief to be done with holiday expenses! This year our family made a lot of homemade gifts and focusedon traditions (instead of things) to have an awesome Christmas without breaking the bank.
Living debt free is important to our family’s financial future, so we take special care to make sure our holiday spending stays in control.
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Stay Debt Free: 5 Super Smart Money Habits to Start TODAY
In the new year, we continue our journey towards becoming completely debt free (and staying that way!) While reading Liz Anderson’s What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You, five tips really resonated with me.
The tips are meant to help you stay debt free, but I believe they apply to everyone trying to feel more on top of their finances. (And just to clarify, when I say debt free, I’m excluding things like a mortgage, as houses are usually difficult for most people to buy up-front).
Since I handle our family finances, I found this book fascinating — I read half of it in one sitting! It covered everything from job benefits to retirement planning, but there were five tips to help stay debt free that I just had to share! These are great financials habits to start now (and easy enough to do so today!)
Five Financial Habits from the Pros to Stay Debt Free
- Keep track of spending. Accountability is crucial! If you have to go back and tally every single dollar spent for the month, you’d probably discover it’s actually more than you thought — and you’ll be less inclined to spend as much next month. There are even free apps which make it super east to keep track of your spending — check with your bank to see if they offer one.
- Use real money for purchases. Avoid building up credit charges that you’ll have to face at the end of the month. Whenever you can, try and pay with cash or a debit card. Seeing your money leave you in real time can make the purchase more painful, and usually will force you to ask the question “Do I really need this?” If you do purchase on credit, pay the bill in full every single month. You never want to build up credit card debt and pay needless interest unless it is an absolute emergency situation. (See number 3)
- Never assume it won’t happen to you. Emergencies happen when we least expect it, so it’s important to be prepared at all times. Start building a strong emergency fund now and you’ll thank yourself later (hopefully you won’t have to!). Deposit set amount from each paycheck into a savings account so it’s done without you thinking about it, but will be there when you need it.
- Automate to avoid mistakes. Like most people, I have a thousand things on my mind at any given time. It’s only human to forget to pay that credit card bill off at the end of the month or the electricity bill that falls on an odd day. Why not take that off your to-do list by setting up an automatic payment? Not only can automation help build a savings account (#3), but it will also keep you from racking up needless late fees on bills and reduce the stress of trying to remember every single deadline.
- Don’t flex your willpower muscle if you don’t need to. Have you ever noticed it’s easier to avoid cheating on your diet in the morning versus at night? That’s because willpower is actually a limited resource that gets weaker the more you use it throughout the day. Simply remove the temptation of unnecessary purchases by avoiding them! For example, unsubscribe from those retailer emails that seem to all have the best sale ever. If you find that you make a lot of online purchases late at night, put the computer away and read a book before bed instead.
Want to know ALL of my money saving tricks, including the one thing our family does that saves us over $1000 every month? It’s all inside my ebook Secrets to a Successful Single Income Budget! CLICK HERE to find out more!
None of these five tips require a major lifestyle change, but done together, they could add up to major savings for your budget and help you stay debt free!
For more easy to understand and potentially life-changing tips, check out What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You by Liz Anderson.
More of our favorite money-saving resources:
- 5 Essential Steps to Save $10,000 in One Year
- The One Lifestyle Change that Allowed me to be a Stay at Home Mom