| Hi Taylor
- So, I'm about to pay off the last of my credit card balances, and
I know I should be excited, but I'm mostly afraid. How do I make sure
I don't fall back into debt? - Ivy
Hi Ivy - It's good to be cautious of debt, but you shouldn't
be afraid. You've proven to yourself you have control over your finances,
so now you just need to use the same habits that helped you eliminate
those outstanding balances. If you keep spending wisely, debt won't
even enter into the conversation.
Maintain the same budget. The first and worst decision some
people make after paying off debt is to change spending habits.
Now that you aren't putting money toward credit cards, you have
a bunch of cash to use however you like. While you do have more
money than when you were getting hammered by interest each month,
frivolous spending is what got you into the debt problem in the
first place. Instead of spending, lean on saving. Invest, think
about buying property, and make sure your emergency fund is stocked.
You can break out of a spending freeze and feel a little more comfortable,
but going from significant debt to a brand new car lease is a bad
2. Plan for credit card swiping. It's good to have credit cards,
but only if you can trust yourself. When you use credit as though
it were debit, meaning you only charge if you have enough in your
checking account to cover the expense, you'll earn rewards and end
up saving money via cash back and travel rewards. However, the moment
you disassociate credit spending from the rest of your finances,
you'll head back down a dangerous path. If it helps, only use your
credit card for one specific category, like groceries or gas. You
should also make sure you only keep one or two cards in your wallet
so you don't feel tempted.
3. Stay focused on the future. You got out of debt because you
kept your eyes on the prize. You're not doing anything different
now, it's just that the prize has changed. Instead of hitting zero
on your Visa, you now want to hit maximum IRA contributions or get
enough saved up to buy a car with cash. As long as you keep playing
the long game, you won't cave on extravagant purchases like you
used to. As someone who climbed out of debt myself, I was never
really concerned about falling back into that trap. Financial freedom
feels way too good, and I was always focused on how I could make
that feeling last forever.
| Stay diligent
in your spending, Ivy, but don't worry too much. As long as you set
good goals and stick to them, your financial situation will continue
© Taylor Kovar
December 13, 2018
More "Go Far With Kovar"
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