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Debt-Free Living

By Zulika van Heerden ©2007


Debt is crushing the dream of many South Africans to become financially independent. However, the determination to get out of the rat-race remains a driving force in keeping the dream alive. You can reduce your stress and live a debt-free life if you make some drastic changes in the way you live.

First, forget the Joneses. There will always be people, even your peers, who will have more than you. It’s impossible to keep up with them and in most cases it’s absurd to even try. Let them have their flashy cars, designer clothes, and mammoth-sized houses. Chances are, they are swimming in debt to impress others.

Whether or not you are impressed doesn’t matter. What matters is your financial future. Would you rather impress friends and neighbors with glitzy items you can’t afford or would you like to live a life free of worrying how to pay for all the junk?

Next, rethink your day-to-day spending. Now that you’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses by buying new boats, jewelry, and flat screen TVs, let’s address the little things that add up. Daily stops at the local coffee house for a latte, buying lunch or bringing take aways home for dinner, and DSTV channels all add up. Instead, brew your own coffee, cook homemade dinners, and get your movies for free at the library.

Keep track of your spending each day and get creative. Try a less expensive golf course instead of a private one, or take in a matinee instead of a night performance. You can still enjoy life but see if you can tone it down a notch or two and pocket the savings.

Once you’re comfortable living within your means, start living beneath them so that you can work on paying off your debt. Commit to paying off your credit card and then only use it for emergencies. If you can swing R500 a month toward your credit card, buckle down and try to increase that amount to R600. As you become accustomed to this monthly payment, it will become easier. Challenge yourself to pay more each month until your debt is wiped clean.

Afterwards, you’ll be rewarded with that amount each month to do with as you please. Instead of going back to your bad spending habits, build up your emergency savings or put that money toward retirement. You can never wrong by choosing to save money.

Paying off car loans, student loans, and mortgage loans never hurts either. Make extra payments toward reducing the principle and get ahead. By doing so, you’ll save thousands in interest over the course of your loan. Consider applying windfalls such as tax refunds and annual bonuses to reducing your debt.

If your car is paid for and still in working order but you find yourself wanting to replace it, consider postponing your purchase. Challenge yourself to postpone your new car purchase by two months and pocket what you would’ve spent on car payments. Now challenge yourself to postpone it another two months. If you were expecting a R3,000 car payment, you will have saved R12,000 by waiting. Consider making car payments to yourself instead of replacing your car. Doing so will save you thousands each year. If you must buy a new car, go for a one or two year old model and get a better deal.

Living debt-free means sacrificing what you can’t afford. If this means driving a five-year-old car while the neighbors drive a brand new one, so be it. If it means living in a 150 square meter house compared to the 400 square meters one your sister lives in, that’s fine too. By freeing yourself from the bonds of debt, you will have peace of mind.

For more debt related articles see below:

-Types of Debt Consolidation Loans
-Debt Consolidation Advantages
-Debt Free Living
-Lowering Your Debt For Life
-Are your debts keeping you awake at night?
-Is Debt Consolidation for You?
-Good Debt vs Bad Debt

To apply for a debt consolidation loan you will have to fill out a short application form. You will then receive a FREE quote from well established, nationally recognized lenders. You do not need to decide now whether the debt consolidation loan is for you.

Just apply and compare the repayments to your current situation. There is no obligation on your part. If you decide that it is not for you, you simply do not have to accept the offer. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

20 Second Application


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