Dump Debt and Dump Stress
Have you ever been in the middle of a relaxing day—maybe on vacation, at the spa or just at home with your family—when all of the sudden you felt overwhelmed by all the things you have to do tomorrow?
That’s a relaxation killer, isn’t it?
Money problems are one of the main issues that zap relaxation mode. They add stress, fatigue and worry to your life. So the million-dollar question is this: how do you avoid the money problems that settle over you like a cloud and keep you from enjoying those times of rest and relaxation?
You might have heard it before, but I really can’t emphasize it enough: to win with money, you must have a plan.
You (and your spouse if you’re married) have to sit down before each month begins and plan out your spending for that month. Include food, gas, entertainment, clothing, mortgage payments and all of your bills. Give every dollar a name. Yes, that’s the dreaded B-word—the budget—but I promise it’s not that bad!
If you’re in debt, then build paying off that debt into your plan. We call this the debt snowball. List all of your debts except for the mortgage—including credit cards, car payments, student loans, etc.—in order from the smallest debt to the largest debt.
Attack that smallest debt with every bit of extra income you have and pay the minimums on the rest. Once you pay off the smallest debt, roll that payment into the payment for your next-smallest debt until it’s paid off. Continue through the debt snowball in that fashion until you’re completely out of debt.
While you’re working through the debt snowball, you should be cutting your spending as well. This means the daily latté and the nightly eating out and the weekly shoe purchases have got to go—for a little while anyway.
For as long as I can remember, my dad has said, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” And that is so true. Giving up those temporary pleasures is worth it because that sacrifice will eventually bring you the freedom you long for.
When you buy stuff you can’t afford, you only add stress to your life. By temporarily letting go of those wants, you set yourself up for a healthy financial life down the road—where relaxation and rest are a regular part of your life, not rare events.
So if you’ve ever wondered why your life is full of tension and worry, start examining your money situation. One of the quickest ways to eliminate stress is to eliminate debt.
Sure, no one’s life is totally anxiety-free—even people without debt have problems—but I can promise you that a life without a debt sure beats the alternative.
Imagine your life debt free. Now isn’t that relaxing?