Equifax

Finance Blog

Getting Out of Debt – For Good

Written by Mechel Glass on July 18, 2011 in Credit  |   5 comments

Getting Out of Debt – For Good Change Your Financial Fate By Changing Your Behavior Mechel Glass, CredAbility.org As a military intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, I learned discipline at an early age. It takes a lot of discipline to manage money, so I’ve…

Getting Out of Debt – For Good

Change Your Financial Fate By Changing Your Behavior
Mechel Glass, CredAbility.org

As a military intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, I learned discipline at an early age. It takes a lot of discipline to manage money, so I’ve been able to apply this trait to my personal financial life. This means I closely watch what I spend, set aside a percentage for savings and charity, and live within my budget.

Many people who have too much debt may not understand how they got into such a predicament. They may be eating at restaurants every weekend, spending money on new clothes, and buying nice gifts for birthdays and holidays because, well, that’s how they’ve always spent their money. Of course, it takes discipline to manage your money and to manage your debt.
To become debt free and stay that way, you must understand the reasons you got into debt, then take action to avoid repeating this behavior.
It sounds simple, right? It sure does. But think about the person who is 20, 30, or 40 pounds overweight. He knows he’s a little heavier than he would like and that it may not be healthy. Yet, he keeps making the same mistakes, such as eating too much, eating the wrong food groups, or not exercising enough, and therefore, he doesn’t lose any weight. It’s the same pattern of behavior that causes people to have trouble with money.
To understand the reasons you are in debt, take the following steps:

  • Establish a priority spending plan to identify and prioritize your expenses. Determine items you really need, such as food and gasoline, versus items that you would like to have, such as new clothes or dining at restaurants. Saving $100 each month by saving on clothes or eating at home will enable you to find the money needed to pay down your debt.
  • Evaluate your current spending habits by asking yourself some key questions: do you keep an organized list of things you need? Do you shop only when you realize you’re out of something, or do you purchase items on impulse? If you like to shop, try to build funds into your monthly budget—you’ll enjoy shopping more, and you’ll buy clothes or households items you really need.
  • Plan ahead to ensure each dollar has a specific purpose. If you develop a monthly spending plan, and you want to purchase new clothes, but your spending plan only allows you to spend $58 each month on clothes, you will begin comparing prices, getting the best deals, and saving money.

Once you’ve set your priority spending plan, you’re ready to tackle your credit card debt.

  • There are several methods for paying unsecured debts. Depending on the method you choose, prioritize your debts in order of balance, interest rate, or both, and list details for each creditor.
  • One method is to pay off one account at a time, starting at the top of the list. Once each account is paid off, add those extra dollars to the next account while continuing to make at least minimum payments on all other accounts.
  • To learn more about various methods for paying down your debts, visit www.CredAbility.org/education and take our free online course called “Change Your Financial Fate.” Take a look at Equifax’s Debt Wise Program to learn additional strategies for paying off debt.
  • Always track your daily spending to stay on target for achieving your financial goals, whether you have credit card debt or even after your debt has been paid off. To download our free pocket tracker, visit www.CredAbility.org.

READ MORE at the Equifax Personal Finance Blog:
Deciding How Much To Borrow In Student Loans
Credit Trends: Managing Student Loan Debt: Student Loans on the Rise
How to Build Credit in Order to Buy a Home
What To Do If You Think There’s An Error On Your Credit Report
Spring-Cleaning Your Debt with David Bach
11 Steps To Get You Out of Debt in 2011

5 comments

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Credit Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter