Resolve to Extricate Yourself

It's not unusual for people to enter a new year with high hopes and expectations. Most of us have probably even set personal goals, known as "New Year's Resolutions," to bring about the changes in ourselves or our circumstances that we'd like to see. Frequently, the hope getting out of debt makes the list. Unfortunately, all too often (and perhaps not in small measure due to the fact that the initial resolution was made 'under the influence'), we find the debt continuing to mount upwards instead of disappearing downwards.

Statistics show that almost one-tenth of all American families are carrying over $9,000 of credit card debt. Moreover, the average consumer's credit file currently lists about 13 different credit accounts. And, while those numbers are certainly eye-opening, undoubtedly the figures for the coming year will be even higher, and will be directly attributable to the booming rate of home foreclosures, the economic downturn in general, and an overall increase in consumer debt. We are truly a nation, and a world, in debt. And the only way to get out of that debt is to pay off those credit cards – avoiding their use in all but emergencies – and make all consumer purchases with cash.

Making the decision to get out of debt is an easy choice. Indeed, we'd all like to live debt-free. But, actually devising and implementing a workable plan can be slightly more elusive. Many people are stuck in the trap of living 'paycheck-to-paycheck', not by choice but by bad spending habits or a fundamental lack of sufficient income, or a combination of the two. As a result, they don't 'see' how they could ever get by without doing some form of borrowing; and so, consequently, they do not earnestly even bother to try. But, that's the absolute wrong attitude.

There's always something that you can do. For example, if you have multiple credit cards or other debts, here's a simple plan to help you pay them away: start by completely paying off one credit card, and then take the money that you were using to pay that card and add it to your monthly payment for the second debt owed. In this way, you'll be adding more to the minimum amount required each month, and the debts will quickly be paid off one by one.

Paying with cash these days can seem not only out-of-date, but a downright archaic method of doing business. Unfortunately, the problem is that we've fallen into the societal mindset that credit cards and debt are both okay and, indeed, necessary. But the truth of the matter is that debt is neither 'okay' nor necessary, but places us in a position of not only constant stress, but outright servitude.

To close, try this little 'exercise' to get your blood racing: combining all the debt you have, add up all the interest you pay monthly. Now, once you've gotten back up off of the floor, start imagining what could be done if you didn't have to use all that money for debt. Resolve to extricate yourself from it; start planning now with a realistic budget. The sacrifices you make today will bring well-being and peace of mind tomorrow.

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