Consumer debt in America has risen by over $1 trillion within the past 5 years. It might seem daunting to tackle your debt, but it can be a practical experience, according to personal finance specialists and founders of The Debt Free Guys, David Auten and John R. Schneider, III. Auten and Schneider, who just created their own credit card payoff course, gave Yahoo Finance some constructive tips for slashing your debt in the new year and beyond.
One way people often fall into a hole of debt is unconscious spending, and Auten says that even a simple analysis can lead to better spending habits and decisions.
“A lot of us get stuck in that day to day making ourselves feel good. We don’t know what those ultimate financial goals are in our lives, and so we’re constantly moving back and forth day to day, not going in the real direction we want to go in,” Auten says.
When Auten and Schneider analyzed their own spending, they realized they could cut back without eliminating all the fun parts. “You don’t have to eliminate your Sunday Funday. You can still have it. But plan ahead. We still do it once a month,” says Auten.
The analogy of rocks, pebbles and sand in a jar can also help individuals take inventory of their expenditures. If the sand, which represents smaller expenses, goes into the jar first, the pebbles and rocks won’t fit.
“What are our big rocks in life, such as saving for a house? And what are our pebbles, such as saving for a 401(k)? The sand is the little day-to-day expenses,” Schneider says. Auten says “we have to think about our little spends” and how we can get those into the proverbial jar.
The Debt Free Guys also mention that their “Debt Lasso” method for reining in debt focuses on the important factor of interest. It consolidates debt into a single place, and it could be in the form of a 0% interest rate credit card, a loan through a bank, or a loan through a credit union. Auten says that lowering an interest rate you’re paying by a little can save you thousands of dollars.
Surrounding yourself with solid support group can enforce a successful attempt at erasing credit card debt. “It can be hard paying off credit card debt, and that’s why it’s great to find a community that has similar goals,” Schneider says.
Are you or someone you know struggling with credit card debt? Do you have money questions you need answered? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.