So now that you are debt-free what next? Remember that clearing your debt is just one part of the exercise; staying out of debt is vital to ensure that you don’t end up in the same financial injury. Living debt-free is not rocket science. All it requires is the consciousness that healthy finance is essential for you to live a happy life.
You may want to check out our previous articles 9 Brilliant ideas to pay off debt fast in 2021 and How to get out of debt: A step-by-step guide where we discussed extensively how to find your way out of debt.
Outlined below are some things to help you live debt-free; have a good read.
Make a list of your income and expenses
The first thing to do to ensure that you don’t fall into debt is to plan. Planning is such a vital step to success for anything we want to do in life. Indeed, if you don’t want to fail, you cannot neglect to plan. This doesn’t have to be complicated in any way. It’s as simple as you putting down words and figures. The first step in this process is making a list. You need to see on paper, what your finance looks like. It may not seem like such an important thing to do, but it is necessary. Making this list, all you have to do is write out what you earn on one side. If you have different streams of income, put it all on paper. Then, write out your expenses on paper, everything you know you spend money on monthly. Depending on when you receive your incomes; you can make it weekly or bi-weekly. Just compare how much is coming in against how much is going out.
Create a budget plan
The next step in the planning process is to create a budget. Based on your analysis from the step above, you should assign every dollar/naira you earn a task. You cannot afford to be passive with your money, give them work to do. They are available to make life easier for you right, but if you don’t tell them what to do, they cannot help you achieve that. You have to understand also; depending on what the ratio of your income to expenses is, you might need to make certain adjustments. In fact, if you want to stay out of debt, you NEED to make those adjustments. This step is not as difficult as you may think, if you do not know how to go about this process of creating a budget, you can use a budgeting app to make it easier for you. There are so many choices out there so you must choose wisely because your financial needs may be different from your neighbour’s.
Be intentional about your money
This tip can be summarised into the first two steps already outlined. But it is such an essential factor that deserves special attention. Intentional merely is being deliberate in your actions. Therefore, being intentional about your money requires that you don’t leave anything to chance. Conscious money habits will ensure better financial health and keep you from running into debt. So, as basic as the first two steps might seem to you, you really cannot neglect them.
Do not make purchases based on emotions
It is very easy to spend to make ourselves feel better. The painful truth is that the things you buy won’t make you feel better. They cannot take away that feeling, because when the initial gratification has waned, you would still be left with that emptiness you were feeling in the first place.
Unsubscribe from sales emails
Everybody likes to get the first updates for those juicy deals and grab them as they come. If you have not planned for it, please don’t do it. You have to unsubscribe from emails that make you spend more money. Remember that the person sending those emails wants to make money. You do not need to place that instant ordering; turn it off.
Maintain a good credit score
Remember when we talked about how to stay out of debt; one of the tips offered was to negotiate lower interest rates. Having a good credit score qualifies you for lower interest rates. More than that; having a good credit score grants you more negotiating power, better insurance deposits, easier approval for loan requests, it also affords you higher credit limits. Overall, having a good credit score places you on better standing than having a bad one.
Do not tie up your money in illiquid investments
As necessary as an investment is, you must engage in those with high liquidity as opposed to illiquid investments.
Earn more money
There is no human on this planet that this idea will not be appealing to. We always want to have more money, no matter how much we already have; it’s in our nature. The simple ways to earn more money is to get a side hustle, become a freelancer or contractor; use your skills to make money. With unlimited access to technology, the world of work offers more opportunity than ever for anyone to turn their skills into pay.
Staying out of debt can be summed into these few words; “Live within your means”. The way to ensure that you do that is by planning. Be intentional about your money. Life can happen at any time but even when it does, with a proper plan already in place, you will be better equipped to handle unforeseen circumstances than when you don’t even know where your money is coming from.