What does it take to live debt free in this day and age? You could say that debt free living is an art form – one that more and more people are curious about. With inflation taking its toll on just about everything from groceries to gas prices to interest rates, Americans are looking for relief. Debt free living could be the relief they’re looking for.
What is Debt Free Living?
Debt free living is a lifestyle of choosing to live without debt. Some people view that as budgeting and living within their means. Others see it as cutting debt out of their lives completely. That’s right – everything you purchase is with your own hard-earned dollars rather than borrowed on credit.
Depending on your view of money and the way you handle your finances, that might sound pretty radical. And for over 75% of the population, it is. In fact, a study by Experian found that less than 25% of Americans live debt free. 1 It can be done!
How to Live Debt Free
If you’re fed up with the growing interest rates, inflation, and cost of living, you’re probably ready to say goodbye to debt for good. If that’s you, here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Commit to debt free living.
This is a hard one. In our culture, debt is used for everything from buying a home, traveling, and even just paying for groceries. But when you swipe that credit card over and over (and over again), it tends to catch up with you. Instead of buying on credit, commit to spending only what you have in cash (or in the bank).
2. Live on a budget.
Keeping track of your finances is hard without the help of a budget. A budget is something that allows you to plan for both your incoming and outgoing money. Not only that, it also allows you to track your spending. When you stick to your monthly budget, you’ll find that meeting your financial goals can be easier to obtain. And when your goal is debt free living, doing a regular budget is key. Deciding which budgeting style works for you will take some trial and error. Whether you like the idea of a cash-only budget, zero-based budget, or event the 50-30-20 method, there’s likely a budget out there that will work for you and your family.
3. Pay off your debt.
This is a big one. The more debt you pay off, the more money you’ll have in your budget to save, give, or even invest. To get started, you’ll want to take an inventory of every single penny owed to someone else, whether that be a personal loan, a credit card, student loans, or medical bills. Once you have your list, it’s time to decide how you want to begin tackling that debt. We love the debt snowball method (where you pay off your debts from smallest to largest). The debt avalanche method also works (this is more focused on paying the debts with the highest interest rates first). No matter which method you choose, paying off your debt is possible!
4. Save, save, save.
One of the keys to debt free living is something called an emergency fund. When you choose to throw our your credit cards, you have to build up your life of defense against the uncertainies of life: A new roof, burst pipes, new tires… and more. Building up an emergency fund allows you to be your own line of defense against those things. We suggest starting with three to six months of expenses and going from there.
5. Invest for the future.
This is a big one! When you’re not putting all of your hard-earned money toward debt, you’re able to save for the future. Not only can you begin investing, but you can begin planning the retirement of your dreams.
If you’re interested in building a plan that allows you to step into debt free living, SageSpring can help. Find an advisor in your area – we’d love to help you budget, plan, and invest in the future.
Investment advisory services offered through SageSpring Wealth Partners, an independent registered investment adviser. SageSpring is not a registered broker dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Representatives may not be registered to offer securities and advisory services in all states.
The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of SageSpring Wealth Partners and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.