Let’s face it, debt is an annoying pest that steals the very life and joy out of your very existence every chance it gets. It can be a very heavy load to carry if left unchecked. Yet, debt is a situation many people continue to find themselves overburdened with countless times over! Why? The likely answer to that question is that most people don’t know how to successfully eliminate their debt without accumulating more.
How is that so? Because oftentimes, people develop a single-step debt-action plan by simply focusing on what debt to pay off. While the debt must be the focus of your efforts in order to pay it off, that is not the only step required in truly becoming debt free. To truly eliminate debt, you must also eliminate your dependence on debt. You do that by planning – planning to save and budget.
You really do have to plan to save. If you don’t have a savings plan, then your efforts have the tendency to fall flat! You certainly don’t want that. Therefore, developing a strong savings plan will help you along your quest to reduce your debt load.
A savings plan helps aid in reducing your dependency on debt in two ways. First, having a solid savings plan helps you build a personal fund for yourself so that you don’t have to rely on debt and credit to fund life’s emergencies. Because emergencies will happen, you want to be prepared with a readily available cash source, not credit. Second, it allows you to become better at preparing for purchases well in advance, giving you ample time to save for the purchases you want. By actually saving for your purchases in advance, you reduce your dependency on credit and debt by paying with cash instead of incurring more debt to purchase the item.
Ideally, when you pay off your debt, you don’t want to go back into debt if something were to happen. This is the purpose of saving. Thus, make it a point to establish a savings while you pay down your debt. Doing both will help you not only pay down the debt, but feel good knowing that you’re building a financial cushion while doing so!
So, just how do you go about implementing this savings plan? Well, by budgeting of course! Budgeting is important because it allows you to see where your money is going and how much you have left after your bills are paid. Since your debt repayment is already included in your monthly expenses, budgeting will allow you to see where you can plug-in your savings also.
Once you understand how much money is coming in and going out of your pocket every month you can then begin to sock some of that excess away into a savings fund while simultaneously paying down your debt.
Having a savings plan and a budget plan only begins to scratch the surface of the actions necessary in your fight to reduce both your debt and your dependency on debt. Though you’ve got to admit, they’re very big actions that have the potential to change the way you view and use credit and debt in a very big way. Growing a savings and paying down debt at the same time brings a healthy dose of confidence, allowing you to see that once dark light of debt become a bright light of hope.
With a background in business, Jacqueline Sleet is a financial enthusiast with a passion for helping others become financially literate and find and define their financial success.