What would you do if you didn't have any bills? It sounds like an unrealistic question given that we are brought up to believe debt is a way of life. We are constantly bombarded with credit card offers, low interest loans, and easy payment plans that will help us buy the stuff we supposedly need. What we aren't told is that debt steals our hope and our freedom. The hope for a better life and the freedom that allows us to use our hard earned money to do the things we enjoy, to build wealth, and to help others.
The hardest part of getting out of debt is to start. Recognizing that there is an issue is one thing, but putting a plan into action causes a huge life change most people aren't ready to make. When I first started realizing things needed to change it was an extremely scary thought. However, it was even scarier to imagine myself still in debt 40 years from now with no savings to live on.
So....the time is now. We can't go back and re-do all the financial mistakes we've made or wave a magic wand and make all of our debt disappear. There has to be serious action taken.....or serious consequences to deal with down the road.
Let's begin by saving money. According to a study, 77% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. We are spending like crazy, saving nothing, and heading for disaster. It would amaze you how much money gets blown on absolutely nothing every month. A soda here, a pizza there, renting movies every weekend, or miscellaneous "stuff" we don't even think about. I would almost guarantee everyone could find an extra $25 - $50 a month to put back if they really examine their monthly expenses.
Budgeting....giving each dollar a place to go. This is where it gets scary, but also where you find an immense amount of peace. Each month, it is imperative to start paying attention to that big stack of bills on the table. No more using the unopened bills as coasters for your drinks, or doodle pads. It will most definately give you a headache. (possibly a migraine) However, dealing with your situation now will eliminate future problems and bring back some of that hope that's been lost.
Destroy that Debt. With the budget done, you should be able to recognize how much money you will have left over to attack your debt. Depending on how much debt you have, a part time job may be an option to get the ball rolling and start making some progress. Focus on the future, make goals for yourself and your family, and most importantly don't quit. It is all worth it when you finally reach that point of freedom and have no chains to hold you down.