About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:

The 11 Principles Series: Get Out of Debt and Stay Out of Debt

By Erik Folgate

Getting out of debt and staying out of debt is an essential principle to becoming wealthy. Millionaires don’t have car payments, and they don’t carry a credit card balance. They don’t need to borrow money, because they HAVE money. If you minimize the monthly payments that you pay every month, you’ll have more money to invest and pay for large purchases. Fortunately, I have already written a debt elimination plan on Money Crashers, and I will reference those posts for you to read again or for the first time. Here are my five steps to getting and staying out of debt.

Step 1: Save up a small emergency fund. You’ll need a $1,000 or $2,000 saved up before you can start aggressively paying off debt so that you can pay cash when life’s little emergencies come up while you are paying off the debts.


Step 2:
Create a written budget. This is an essential step. You need to know where your money is going, and you need to have a sense of control with your money. A written budget will give you control and tell you where your money is going before you spend it.

Step 3: List your debts smallest to largest, and start aggressively paying off the smallest debt, and working your way up to the largest debt. People that make decisions based on the numbers will think this is the wrong way to pay off debts. You can do it based on the highest interest rates, but the other way of doing it is more about momentum and personal achievement. If you start out paying off your $20,000 debt first, it’s harder to feel like you are making progress and you may be discouraged to continue paying off your debts quickly. Dave Ramsey teaches the method of smallest debt to largest debt, because when you clean up the smallest debts first, you feel a sense of accomplishments and you gain more momentum to put more money towards larger debts.

Step 4: Create alternative sources of income. I’ll give more specific examples for doing this when I write about principle #6. The point is that there are endless possibilities of ways to make extra income right out of the comfort of your own home. Boosting your income is a great way to speed up the process of paying off your debt. Read the post that I referenced for some quick ideas.

Step 5: Save a Big Emergency Fund. Once you are out of debt, you need to make sure that you STAY out of debt. Read the post I referenced about putting together a large emergency fund that will cover your expenses up to 3 to 6 months. If you lose weight, you can’t go back to your old ways of eating fast food and never working out. The only way you’ll keep off the weight is to keep eating healthy and continuing to exercise. Staying out of debt has the same principles. Once you change your behavior to get out of debt, you must keep doing those things to stay out of debt.

The key here is that I want you to be debt free as quickly as possible. I’m talking about getting out of debt in two years or less, not five or ten years. The faster, the better. You don’t even need to worry about what your interest rates on your consumer debt when you’re knocking off debts left and right. Get excited about doing it, and start today. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to getting and staying out of debt.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

Related Articles

  • http://www.lostspots.com Amber Yount

    Nice plan! You must be a Dave Ramsey fan :P

  • carol

    I second that!

  • Sandra

    I can say from experience that the above principles work and will bring peace in your life.

  • kobe

    Debt always seems to be small and is been ignored, but the fact is that it grows enormously faster than anyone’s imagination. The one of the old and worth it ways that our grandparents use it is still proven to be successful in eliminating debt. It’s not that instant but the quite effective in getting that normal life once again. Surely majority of people must be aware of it; it says curtail your expenses and add more towards your savings. That certainly requires a lot of sacrifices and determination to gradually overcome debt and kwikquid for good financial assistance.

  • http://www.sfi4.com/12993645/FREE Maurice Dillapree

    The U.S. economy, and with it the entire global economy, has been very sick for at least two years. After looking into a lot of economic problems facing small and home-based businesses, it is obvious things are potentially much worse than many in government would have us believe. It will be wonderful if, as some have been saying, we have reached the bottom of the decline. There’s no way to know right now.

    But, I’ve found an automatic and effective way of making money online and I would like to set it up for you absolutely free. All you need to do to participate is sign up for this 100% free affiliate program called SFI, SFI is a Top-Rated online business backed by the Better Business Bureau that empowers regular people to earn money from home using only their Internet connection.

    This is a legitimate business with over 10 years of history and thousands of success stories. You just have to work smart, follow instructions and make the effort to succeed because this home business opportunity works (only if you do).

    There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain here, including more time with your family and more money in your wallet. It’s well worth looking at SFI and investing in your future with us. For more information Contact me at [email protected] and have a Great Day!!!

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.
Close