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  • Writer's pictureBlack Married & Debt Free

5 Steps to Start Your Journey to Debt Freedom

"If you don't want your tomorrow to look like today, you must do something different."

Paying off debt is hard work. Here are a few steps to get started:

1. Get clear about your goal.

If you don’t want your tomorrow to look like your today, you must decide to do something different. If debt freedom is what you desire, you must first decide. Next, create goals that align with this decision. I know it sounds cliché, but please make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. For example, "I will pay off $6,735 worth of student loan debt in 24 months by dedicating $280.62 each month towards the principal balance." After establishing your goal, write it down and keep as a constant reminder.

2.Take Inventory.

Take personal and financial inventory. To do this, take responsibility for where you are right now. Acknowledge your circumstance. Own it, all of it. Identify your limiting beliefs (for example, "I don't make enough to pay off my debt") and counteract them with positive affirmations. For example, "paying off debt is possible for me" "each day I grow wiser." When taking financial inventory, subtract your expenditures from your income. Identify expenses you can reduce or eliminate. Use the remaining cash flow to help you achieve your goal.

3. Determine your Strategy.

What are you willing to do to accomplish the goal you've set? What gifts and abilities do you have that might bring in additional income? Your strategy may be cutting back on eating out or picking up a part-time job. Implement several strategies for maximum progress towards your goal. After determining your strategies, write them down and put them into action.

4. Dive into Action.

The best way to enter a cold pool on a hot day is to dive in lest you reconsider. Diving in is uncomfortable at first but soon the shock will pass as you acclimate to the new conditions. When striving to reach your goals, dive in. Commit to putting your strategies into action and celebrate each milestone. Periodically check in with your spouse or ask a friend to be an accountability partner to assist in monitoring your progress. Reevaluate your strategy if needed.

5. Make an Impact.

Be confident in your ability to succeed. If you miss the mark, encourage yourself to do better. Upon achieving your goal, you'll have increased financial freedom to do the things you want.

Hang in there friends!

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