Enemy of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com Motivational Money Management Wed, 27 Jul 2016 06:40:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3 Rules You MUST Follow When Shopping http://www.enemyofdebt.com/3-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/3-rules-you-must-follow-when-shopping/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 19:45:27 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17836 Enemy of Debt - 3 Rules You MUST Follow When Shopping

I love lists. I mean, I really really love lists. Especially when shopping. To me, going shopping is like a military mission. I have my orders…I mean my list, I get in, fulfill my orders, and get out as quickly as possible. Having a list has several advantages: It keeps me on track. I know what I’m supposed to buy and give me a clear path to success. A list is representative that there has been a discussion regarding what we can afford and that we have properly weighed value against cost. A list, and a plan, is sometimes not […]

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Enemy of Debt - 3 Rules You MUST Follow When Shopping

EOD_Shopping RulesI love lists. I mean, I really really love lists. Especially when shopping. To me, going shopping is like a military mission. I have my orders…I mean my list, I get in, fulfill my orders, and get out as quickly as possible. Having a list has several advantages:

  • It keeps me on track. I know what I’m supposed to buy and give me a clear path to success.
  • A list is representative that there has been a discussion regarding what we can afford and that we have properly weighed value against cost.

A list, and a plan, is sometimes not enough, however. Some flexibility is needed. Sometimes conversations need to be had real time to be successful in managing your finances, and getting the most from your hard earned cash. This was exemplified perfectly by my trip to Target last week.

We went to the store of the bullseye because my daughter wanted some new shorts. Once inside the store I walked away to browse on my own. Previous experience has shown the presence of the male parent is a major inhibitor when it comes to a teenage girl’s ability to find anything she likes. It’s a proven fact. With the male parent in close proximity, nothing of interest can be found. We must immediately go home. But should the male parent exit close radar contact, the store instantly becomes a gold mine. So I left my wife and my daughter to shop in solidarity.

After some time, I reestablished radar contact and took my rightful place on a “man stool” outside the dressing room. If you’re not familiar, there are uncomfortable stools outside every Target dressing room where males wait, holding purses and watching over carts and potential purchases as significant others and daughters try on clothes. It was at this time I was given a pile of clothes to hold. I noticed that the pile contained not only shorts, but also shirts and pajamas.

While my daughter and wife discussed a last minute item or two, I totaled up the prices of everything I was holding. It came to just about $200. Well over the $117 in cash I had left in my wallet from the previous weekend’s spending money. Since we just jumped back on the cash only bandwagon, this presented a potential issue for us.

Standing in the checkout line, I mentioned to my wife how much I thought the total would be. The look on her face plainly showed that she was surprised. She hadn’t expected it to add up to that much. My daughter had her purse ready to go, as the conversation at on the way to the store led to an agreement that we were willing to use our remaining budgeted funds to buy her clothes, but anything over that would be covered by her. In this case, she would be on the hook for $83 of the bill.

I knew how much money she had, and she would easily be able to cover the overage. However, the checkout line is not the right place to find out how much she would have to pay. This is what should have happened:

  1. A list formed as to what was to be purchased. This was loosely done (shorts!), however I think my daughter might have had she would look for other things too.
  2. A budget is set. This was also done. Everybody involved knew what the shopping budget was, and my daughter agreed that she would pay for anything above that.
  3. Items totaled and compared against the budget BEFORE reaching the checkout counter.  My daughter would then have the opportunity to decide how much of her money she would be willing to part with. She could adjust the clothes taken to the register based upon this decision.

We went horribly wrong with the third bullet. My daughter had no ability to decide whether the $83 overage was acceptable to her or not. Maybe she would have happily counted out the cash and got everything. Maybe she would have decided to put some things back.

This was a great lesson for not only my daughter for all of us. Following these three rules of shopping will ensure you enter the checkout line with eyes wide open knowing what the total will be and how it will affect your budget, as well as through the exit without any regret.

How about you EOD nation, do you total up your purchases BEFORE heading to the checkout line? Have you ever had the total of your purchases be a surprise?

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Save Money On IAMS Dog Food + Gift Card At Target! http://www.enemyofdebt.com/save-money-on-iams-dog-food-gift-card-at-target/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/save-money-on-iams-dog-food-gift-card-at-target/#respond Mon, 25 Jul 2016 15:29:47 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17827 Enemy of Debt - Save Money On IAMS Dog Food + Gift Card At Target!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #IamsDogDeal #CollectiveBias Give your dog some love! Save 5% with Cartwheel, PLUS get a $10 Target Gift Card when you buy 2 bags of IAMS dry dog food.

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Enemy of Debt - Save Money On IAMS Dog Food + Gift Card At Target!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #IamsDogDeal #CollectiveBias

IAMS Promotional Post round 2 image

Give your dog some love! Save 5% with Cartwheel, PLUS get a $10 Target Gift Card when you buy 2 bags of IAMS dry dog food.

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup -7/22 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 15:36:47 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17816 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup -7/22

Walking through the aisle at Walmart, my head snapped as if I had been slapped in the face.  What in the world are school supplies doing out already?  Summer is just getting rolling, isn’t it?  The calendar tells me otherwise. Which means it’s time to start setting aside funds for back to school supplies and clothes.   We’ve got a few weeks to stockpile some cash, but it’s going to come quickly. Are you ready for the coming school year? I don’t know if I can fist pump for the coming school year, but I sure can for my favorite posts […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup -7/22

fistpumpWalking through the aisle at Walmart, my head snapped as if I had been slapped in the face.  What in the world are school supplies doing out already?  Summer is just getting rolling, isn’t it?  The calendar tells me otherwise. Which means it’s time to start setting aside funds for back to school supplies and clothes.   We’ve got a few weeks to stockpile some cash, but it’s going to come quickly. Are you ready for the coming school year?

I don’t know if I can fist pump for the coming school year, but I sure can for my favorite posts of the week!

Posts That Make Me Fist Pump

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5 Things That Happen When You Spend Only Cash http://www.enemyofdebt.com/5-things-that-happen-when-you-spend-only-cash/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/5-things-that-happen-when-you-spend-only-cash/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 06:02:24 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17805 Enemy of Debt - 5 Things That Happen When You Spend Only Cash

In Friday’s roundup post, I mentioned that my wife and I were restarting our methodology of spending cash only for our day to day expenditures.   Here’s a brief look at how it works: Monthly bills are paid online out of our checking account Each Friday, cash for our personal spending is withdrawn from the ATM. Personal spending includes gas, groceries, allowance for the kids, and entertainment funds With this system we had been extremely successful managing our finances and staying within our budget.  As happens in life, we got lazy and began to let our structure slide in favor of […]

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Enemy of Debt - 5 Things That Happen When You Spend Only Cash

EOD_CashPicIn Friday’s roundup post, I mentioned that my wife and I were restarting our methodology of spending cash only for our day to day expenditures.   Here’s a brief look at how it works:

  • Monthly bills are paid online out of our checking account
  • Each Friday, cash for our personal spending is withdrawn from the ATM.
  • Personal spending includes gas, groceries, allowance for the kids, and entertainment funds

With this system we had been extremely successful managing our finances and staying within our budget.  As happens in life, we got lazy and began to let our structure slide in favor of the convenience of just swiping our debit card.  The result was that we found ourselves overspending, which impacted our ability to reach our future financial goals.  We wanted to regain that firm grip on our finances, so we decided to back to the system that worked well for us.

As per our discussion, on my way home from work on Friday I stopped at the ATM and withdrew the agreed upon amount of cash.  As we went through the weekend, we noticed a marked difference in perspective and thought process when it came to spending.

You Constantly Evaluate Your Resources

With almost every purchase, one of would question how much of our entertainment funds remained.  We knew how much we had left at all times.  This is in stark contrast to when use our debit card for purchases.  Using cash adds physicality to spending money.  When using a card, one would have to add up purchases to determine the total spent, and how much is left of the budgeted amount.  By using cash, it’s as easy as opening the wallet and counting.

You Pay Attention To Your Budget

Normally I’d pull up to the pump and fill the van with gas, paying at the pump with my debit card.  This time, I pushed the “pay inside” button and started filling the tank.  I knew what my budgeted amount was for gasoline, and I watched to ensure that I didn’t exceed it.  In this instance,  it cost a few dollars less than what we had allocated.  But, if I had reached the budgeted amount, I would have stopped the pump.  This would have prompted a discussion as to whether we were allocating the right amount.

You Discuss Budget Overruns

Our grocery bill went over budget.  However, we decided together to take funds from our entertainment bucket to pay for the overage to buy some extra items for a nice steak and shrimp dinner.   The logic was we were making a nice dinner instead of going out to eat, therefore it was appropriate to take funds from entertainment to pay for extra food.

You Think About Value

Before spending any money, there is a discussion of whether the potential expenditure was worth it.  When you’re dealing with cash, the amount of money is blatantly finite.  When a card is being swiped, one could think of their funds as infinite because you can’t see it.

You Think Ahead

With the amount of funds available being obviously finite, we found ourselves thinking ahead.  We might need some cash for household needs during the week, so we better make sure we don’t spend everything.  My wife expressed some interest in having her nails done, so we needed to find out how much that would be and set aside some cash for that.  When you force yourself to think ahead, about potential expenditures, it becomes harder to spend money now.

Switching back to cash only spending had an immediate and profound impact on how we managed our money.   One other thing to mention is that it naturally increased our communication regarding our finances and how we wanted to use the resources available.  This is a good change.  This has been a necessary change. Now, we just need to keep it up.

How about you, EOD nation, have you thought about spending cash only for your day to day expenditures?

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/15 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-715/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-715/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 16:45:18 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17799 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/15

Happy Friday, EOD Nation!  Not only is it Friday, but it’s pay day.  My wife and I have fallen off the cash only weekends bandwagon, and we’ve decided that we’re jumping back on THIS WEEK.  Therefore, I’m heading to the ATM to withdraw this weekend’s spending money.  I’m excited to get back to what makes us most successful in handling our finances….here we go! Fist pump for cash only! Posts That Make Me Fist Pump How to Balance Your Checking Account from Couple Money What I Lose When I Bring My Lunch to Work from Frugal Rules Being Rich Eliminates […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/15

fistpumpHappy Friday, EOD Nation!  Not only is it Friday, but it’s pay day.  My wife and I have fallen off the cash only weekends bandwagon, and we’ve decided that we’re jumping back on THIS WEEK.  Therefore, I’m heading to the ATM to withdraw this weekend’s spending money.  I’m excited to get back to what makes us most successful in handling our finances….here we go!

Fist pump for cash only!

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Costco American Express to Citibank Transition: One More Mess http://www.enemyofdebt.com/costco-american-express-to-citibank-transition-one-more-mess/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/costco-american-express-to-citibank-transition-one-more-mess/#comments Mon, 11 Jul 2016 15:10:44 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17793 Enemy of Debt - Costco American Express to Citibank Transition: One More Mess

Costco’s transition from American Express to Citibank occurred on June 20th. Not only did Costco stop accepting American Express, but the Costco Amex Rewards cards stopped functioning all together. I personally did not find the transition smooth, as in my opinion Costco did not do a good job of providing timely information to customers regarding what was going to happen to their account and when. But when June 20th came, the transition was was complete, with no more hiccups to deal with. I only wish that was true. I could have missed my first payment to Citibank due to incorrect […]

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Enemy of Debt - Costco American Express to Citibank Transition: One More Mess

EOD_CostcoCardPic

Costco’s transition from American Express to Citibank occurred on June 20th. Not only did Costco stop accepting American Express, but the Costco Amex Rewards cards stopped functioning all together. I personally did not find the transition smooth, as in my opinion Costco did not do a good job of providing timely information to customers regarding what was going to happen to their account and when. But when June 20th came, the transition was was complete, with no more hiccups to deal with. I only wish that was true.

I could have missed my first payment to Citibank due to incorrect information.

A few weeks ago I received a letter in the mail labeled as important information regarding my Costco account. It repeated information regarding the transition, the closing of my Costco American Express Account, and how the balance would be treated. It stated the following:

  • The balance from Costco American Express accounts would be transferred to a new Citibank account
  • If a final bill is received from American Express, a payment should be made to them
  • When a bill is received from Citibank, a payment should be made to them.

About the same time, I received a statement from my American Express account for a small balance we had outstanding. Following the directions provided to me, the day the payment was due I attempted to log into my American Express account to make the payment. However, instead of my account information I received a screen stating that my account had been transferred to Citibank, and to direct any questions I had regarding my account to them.

I then signed onto my Costco Citibank account which I had already set up. It showed the balance that had been transitioned, but it did not show a due date for my payment or that a payment was due at all.

I couldn’t access my American Express Account, and my Citibank Account did not show a payment due.

I had to make some phone calls to resolve the situation.  First, I called American Express and explained the situation. They told me to disregard the statement I received in the mail as they were no longer servicing the accounts from Costco. I would have to direct all my questions to Citibank.  After waiting on hold for about 10 minutes with Citibank, their representative confirmed what I had been told by American Express. When I asked why my Citibank account listed no payment yet due, I was told that information only showed up on the primary card holder’s account (which in this case is actually my wife). Even though I was on the account, they could not tell me if a payment was due, when my payment due date was, or the amount due. All of that could only be done by the primary account holder, until my wife personally authorized me to that information.

After calling my wife and setting up a new online account using her card number, I could see the amount due and the due date.

Let’s review the details in the latest debacle that is the Costo Amex to Citibank transition:

  • I received instructions on how to handle my payments, but could not follow them and was told to disregard them.
  • I never received a statement of any kind from Citibank for my first payment.
  • I could not see the payment information for my Citibank account because I’m the secondary card holder. However, none of this was communicated to me.

The Costco transition from Amex to Citibank has been a complete disaster. I wonder how many people sent payments to Amex even though they no longer service the account. I wonder how many people missed their first payment to Citibank. I wonder how many people got slapped with late fees. Just one more reason to pay off the balance and cut up the card.

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/8 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-78/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-78/#comments Fri, 08 Jul 2016 15:45:54 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17780 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/8

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  My family’s big plans consisted of……well…..not much.  We picked up a friend of my son’s at the airport and went to the Mall Of America indoor theme park (using all day wristbands that I got for over half off through my employer…SCORE!).  Then we came home, grilled, and watched our city’s fireworks from a hill in a park behind our house.  They were kind of far away, but there were also plenty of people around us that were shooting off fireworks, and we enjoyed them all.  Cheap theme park wristbands, and […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/8

fistpumpI hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  My family’s big plans consisted of……well…..not much.  We picked up a friend of my son’s at the airport and went to the Mall Of America indoor theme park (using all day wristbands that I got for over half off through my employer…SCORE!).  Then we came home, grilled, and watched our city’s fireworks from a hill in a park behind our house.  They were kind of far away, but there were also plenty of people around us that were shooting off fireworks, and we enjoyed them all.  Cheap theme park wristbands, and enjoyment of fireworks other people bought.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

Fist pump with me!

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Three Reasons To Decline a Credit Limit Increase http://www.enemyofdebt.com/three-reasons-to-decline-a-credit-limit-increase/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/three-reasons-to-decline-a-credit-limit-increase/#comments Mon, 04 Jul 2016 12:07:20 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17773 Enemy of Debt - Three Reasons To Decline a Credit Limit Increase

The email was from a credit card provider and the subject line said “Congratulations!” I opened the email to find out that I was being offered a $3000 credit line increase. The line of credit in question was one we used for our hotel bill on our trip to Austin, Texas as the card gave a significant percentage cash back for travel expenses. We hadn’t used the card literally in years, and I’m guessing that the use of the card prompted the issuer to sweeten the pot for us to continue to use it. I was about to click on […]

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Enemy of Debt - Three Reasons To Decline a Credit Limit Increase

EOD_CreditincreasePicThe email was from a credit card provider and the subject line said “Congratulations!” I opened the email to find out that I was being offered a $3000 credit line increase. The line of credit in question was one we used for our hotel bill on our trip to Austin, Texas as the card gave a significant percentage cash back for travel expenses. We hadn’t used the card literally in years, and I’m guessing that the use of the card prompted the issuer to sweeten the pot for us to continue to use it. I was about to click on the button to accept the offer and increase my credit limit when I paused and really gave some thought to what I was doing.

I was being offered a credit line increase, but what advantage would it really give me?

Disadvantages

False Sense Of Responsibility

I haven’t forgotten that me and credit cards don’t mix. Our use of a credit card to pay for our accommodations in Texas was a rare re-entry into the world of credit card usage. Even though we had the cash to pay for our hotel, using the card was convenient, and it allowed us to earn some cash back on a relatively expensive trip. Being given a higher credit limit obviously means that the credit card company  has determined I can use that amount of credit responsibly and could easily pay it back, right? Wrong.  Many times the credit limit granted has little to do with your ability to repay that amount.

The More Credit You Have the More You Spend

Credit cards are a slippery slope. My very first card, which I got in college, a credit limit of $360.  I maxed it out in a couple of months. During the height of our credit card spending, we would go through a cycle of getting a new credit card, maxing it out, and then applying for a new one. Credit cards are a lot like a fish in an aquarium. The larger the tank, the larger the fish will grow. The more credit you have, the more you will likely spend.

Couldn’t Pay It Back

I already have a healthy credit limit on the account. If I would max out the account, paying it off would have a significant negative affect on my household finances. Increasing my credit limit would give me the ability dig myself into a deep, deep financial hole. Not a good idea.

Advantages

None.

I struggled and struggled to find and advantage to having a higher credit limit (other than being able to satisfy myself through impulsive purchase I cannot afford for a temporary amount of time). When I finally wrote down the word, “None,” the choice was clear. I went back to my email inbox and deleted the email. There was no way I needed a credit limit increase on that account.

EOD Nation, here’s a fun exercise I suggest you give a try. Add up the maximum credit limits on every credit card you have. Now, imagine having every one of those lines of credit maxed out. How would that make you feel? What affect would that have on your monthly finances? How would that much debt affect your long term financial goals?

If having that much debt scares you, ask yourself why you allow yourself to have that kind of potential. Do you trust yourself that much? Do you?

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Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/1 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-71/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/fist-pump-friday-i-love-you-like-a-blogger-roundup-71/#respond Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:16:04 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17765 Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/1

Happy 4th of July weekend, EOD Nation!  We don’t have any big plans for the weekend, although I definitely plan on firing up my grill to make some delicious food, and because……’Murica.   My son also has a friend coming to visit, so we’ll have a house guest for the week.  My wife and I instantly feel the need to start planning activities, but the look in our son’s eyes as we started discussing was priceless.  He wanted to hang out with his friend….not his friend and his parents  Time for us to take a step back.  LOL. Get your fists […]

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Enemy of Debt - Fist Pump Friday: I Love You Like A Blogger Roundup – 7/1

fistpumpHappy 4th of July weekend, EOD Nation!  We don’t have any big plans for the weekend, although I definitely plan on firing up my grill to make some delicious food, and because……’Murica.   My son also has a friend coming to visit, so we’ll have a house guest for the week.  My wife and I instantly feel the need to start planning activities, but the look in our son’s eyes as we started discussing was priceless.  He wanted to hang out with his friend….not his friend and his parents  Time for us to take a step back.  LOL.

Get your fists in the air for America’s birthday!

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13 Better Money Habits You Need to Get Out of Debt http://www.enemyofdebt.com/better-money-habits-get-out-debt/ http://www.enemyofdebt.com/better-money-habits-get-out-debt/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 04:11:45 +0000 http://www.enemyofdebt.com/?p=17743 Enemy of Debt - 13 Better Money Habits You Need to Get Out of Debt

Developing better money habits that lead to getting out of debt is one of those things everybody knows they should do, but sadly most don’t.  I know Angie and I struggled for years with nagging debt that never seemed to go away.  It wasn’t until we changed our money habits and our mindset about money that we were truly able to make a full effort at getting out of debt. We Had to Change Our Money Habits We spent a lot of time putting band-aids on our finances, but never fixed the underlying problem.  When it came down to it, […]

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Enemy of Debt - 13 Better Money Habits You Need to Get Out of Debt

Developing better money habits that lead to getting out of debt is one of those things everybody knows they should do, but sadly most don’t.  I know Angie and I struggled for years with nagging debt that never seemed to go away.  It wasn’t until we changed our money habits and our mindset about money that we were truly able to make a full effort at getting out of debt.

We Had to Change Our Money Habits

We spent a lot of time putting band-aids on our finances, but never fixed the underlying problem.  When it came down to it, our problem was not money, it was us.

Once we finally understood we had to change our money habits, then we knew it was going to take time, effort, and (that dreaded word) change if we were finally going to get out of debt.

Let’s face it, nobody likes change.

But change you must if you finally want to get out of debt and stop living paycheck to paycheck like everyone else.

13 Money Habits You Need to Get Out of Debt for Good

So for this post I thought I’d give you a complete list of what it takes to develop better money habits so you can get out of debt and permanently change your future for the better!  We did them and you can do them too!

Here they are:

Don’t Borrow Money

Yep, this one’s a no brainer!  But you’d be surprised at how many people wanting to develop better money habits and get out of debt overlook this one.

If you want to get out of debt, you have to stop borrowing money, period!

That means it’s time to cut up the credit cards, learn how to pay cash for your cars (it’s easier than you think), and eventually get the house and student loans paid off too.

You’ll never get out of debt if you keep believing you need to borrow money to live your life.

Be Patient

Paying off debt takes time.  Depending on how much debt you have, it may take anywhere from a few months to a few years to completely pay it off.

That means you have to be patient and understand that it just doesn’t happen overnight (unless your rich aunt leaves you an inheritance!).

Look at getting out of debt as a marathon, not a sprint.  Just like in a real marathon, you may hit a wall along the way and feel like quitting.  But when you decide to be relentless and continue on no matter what, you’ll finally get out of debt and practice better money habits for life!

Use a Budget to Keep Track

Keeping a budget is probably the best money habit you can develop.  Most anybody who is financially successful understands that keeping track of your money and where it goes is massively important.

If you don’t have a clear concept of where your money goes every month, then you tend to waste money without even knowing it.  Whether you have a high income or make very little, not keeping track of money causes you to live paycheck to paycheck and never get ahead.

I’ve put together an excellent resource on how to make a great budget that actually works.  You can find it at the link below:

My Book- “Balance- The Quick and Easy Guide to Financial Stability Using a Budget”

Use Cash in an Envelope System

Once you learn how to make a budget, I recommend that you go cash only.  Going cash only means you pay for things with cash, check, or a debit card.

As I said above, if you want to develop better money habits and get out of debt for good, credit cards are no longer an option.  Ditching credit cards is easy once you get used to it, but I have to admit it feels a little weird at first.

I wrote a killer post about how to set up your own envelope system, which you can find at the link below:

How to Start an Envelope System and Budget With Cash

Know Your Numbers

Knowing your numbers is very important for keeping track of short term and long term financial goals.  So what does it mean to know your numbers?  It means you should know how much you’re spending on certain things so they don’t get out of hand and cause you financial stress.  Knowing your numbers also means having a firm grasp of what you have, what you don’t have, and what you need for the future.

For instance:

  • How much do you pay for housing? ( I recommend 25% of your take home pay or less)
  • How much are you putting into savings every month? (I recommend 15% of your income once your consumer debt is paid off)
  • How much do you spend on food? Could you spend less and put money into savings instead?
  • How much is your net worth (how much you own minus how much you owe)?
  • And others…

Get Your Spouse on Board

If you’re married, it’s hugely important to be able to communicate about money and have shared financial goals.  Establishing better money habits happens much easier when you have two people pulling in the same direction.

Sometimes it’s hard to get your spouse on board with a financial plan, but when you both start working together, managing finances becomes so much easier.  Just the act of working together on something this important can go a long way toward making a happier marriage.

I cover marriage and money extensively in my CFF get out of debt course- You can find out more about it here.

Have Goals for Your Money

Money without goals is like a traveler without a destination.  You can wander around aimlessly all day, but you’ll never get anywhere.

Develop short term and long term goals for your money.  Here are some goals that I recommend:

  • How much money you plan on saving this year
  • How much money you plan to invest this year
  • Start an emergency fund
  • What happens to your money when you’re gone

This is only a short list of goals to work toward.  Having focused goals for your money, how it grows, and where it goes keeps you on track for the future instead of wandering aimlessly with your finances.

Develop better money habits by consistently working on your financial goals and your future will thank you!

Stop Worrying What Other People Think

Keeping up with the Joneses is one of the worst things that get people into financial trouble.  When you think you have to have the same big house and expensive cars everybody else has, you can get into financial trouble quickly.

Keeping up with everybody else doesn’t work.  The part that you don’t see is that the Joneses are up to their eyeballs in debt.  They are stressed out, having trouble paying bills, and struggling to keep it all together (this is true even if they have a high income).

Be different by spending less than you make and living within your means.  People might perceive you a little differently, but that’s a good thing!

Embrace Change

Learning to embrace change is a good thing.  Always be willing to change how you manage your money and how you think about finances as you gain new knowledge.

Changing the way you do things is not always easy, but it gets easier the more times you do it.

Get an Abundance Mindset

So many people are conflicted in what they believe about money and wealth.  There are a lot of negative messages about money you hear that just aren’t true, but the constant rattle of financial negativity can get to you after a while.

Money and wealth are not evil, but some people are.

Learn to develop a mindset of abundance and understand that money is only bad in the hands of bad people.  God wants abundance for all, and when He can trust you with it, the Bible says He will add even more to you (see 2 Corinthians 9:7-9).

Here are a few articles I’ve written on the subject that you’ll find helpful:

Abundance vs. Scarcity- Your Mindset Makes All the Difference

Havdalah- How to Have an Overflowing Cup of Financial Abundance

9 Lessons on Finance and Success From King Solomon

Find Ways to Make Extra Money

One of the best things you can do to supercharge your finances is to find ways to make extra money.  Stick that extra income into savings and investments on top of what you’re already saving, and you’ll see your net worth grow (and your debt shrink) amazingly quickly!

I’ve written a ton of articles on making extra money over the years.  You can find a complete list of them on the CFF Money Making Ideas page.

Give Money Away

One of the better money habits you can ever develop is to be a giver.  The Bible shows the incredible power of giving time after time.  God is a god of increase and abundance, and giving unlocks the key to access all the abundance He wants for you.

Giving is a very counterintuitive thing to do.  You would think when you give something away, it’s just gone.

But that’s not how it works…

The neat thing about giving of yourself and your money is that it catches God’s attention.  He always ensures that whatever you give comes back to you bigger and better than when you gave it.

I’ve read about it in the Bible many times, and better yet I’ve seen it proven in my own life!

Read more about the power of giving on the CFF Giving page

Get an Emergency Fund

Better money habits start with a solid contingency plan.  You always need a financial reserve available for the inevitable emergency.  You know you’ll have an emergency expense to deal with at some point in the future, you just don’t know when or how much it will cost.

So it’s wise to be prepared.

When it comes to getting out of debt, having at least a small emergency fund is extremely important.  Having that financial cushion in place helps you deal with any bumps along the way that could derail your get out of debt plan.

 

Take Responsibility for Your Financial Situation

One of the first things you have to do once you decide to develop better money habits and get out of debt is to realize that you are the one responsible for your finances.  If you’re married, then it’s both of you.

You have to stop blaming the government, your job, the economy, and any other convenient scapegoat.

You have to put your big boy (or girl) pants on and make your financial situation work no matter what outside factors may be influencing your situation.

Taking responsibility like this has an empowering effect on your attitude, helping you attack your debt so relentlessly that you won’t rest until you’re done with debt forever!

Better Money Habits Breed Success

Nobody who has truly become a financial success did it without developing better money habits along the way.  Sure, you can get rich without ever establishing better financial habits, but the wealth doesn’t last very long.  Just ask some professional athletes or the average lottery winner.

Developing better habits with money is a lifelong process that begins the minute you decide you’re done living an average (broke) financial life.

But once you finally start the process, you’ll wonder why in the world you didn’t start sooner!

Question:  Did I leave anything out?  Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page with any other good money habits you recommend.

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