10 tips for living debt free

With hard work and new habits, you can break the debt cycle. Use these 10 steps to get started today.

Ditch your debit card

Rework your habits to win back control of your finances and steer clear of new debt.

  1. Stop using your credit cards.
  2. Set up a spending plan and stick to it.
  3. Monitor every penny that comes in and goes out, either with an online tracking system (like those at mint.com and quicken.com) or with a written register that you carry with you.
  4. Sign up for online banking to automatically pay bills.
  5. Start an emergency fund, and set it up to receive savings every payday.
  6. Meet with your partner weekly for at least a half hour to review your finances and pay bills.
  7. Withdraw your spending money for the week, then put your debit and ATM cards away where you can’t access them.
  8. Write out your financial goals and take small steps toward them every day. Tape a list of goals to the inside of your wallet so you are reminded of them every time you spend money.
  9. Don’t buy on impulse. Institute a 24-hour waiting period before purchasing items outside your budget.
  10. Refuse to let setbacks sabotage your long-term success. After you overspend or face unplanned expenses, return to your plan immediately.

Have questions? Ask en expert for free! At bundle.com, type “ask a debt expert” to join a forum and get free advice from qualified credit counselors at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.