Paying down debt can be a long, hard road. Make it easier with some simple tricks. You’ll be surprised what happens when you break up your paycheck!
You’re paying down debt, chugging along and happy that you got your balance down a bit. Hooray!!
…you find a surprise bill in the mailbox.
You don’t have money to cover the bill, so… you pay it using your credit card. Now the card balance is nearly as bad as it was before.
And you’re right back where you started…trying to get that balance down again.
It’s so frustrating!
Especially when you’ve been trying so hard. You skipped happy hour with your buddies. You cancelled your cable service.
Now it feels like all that sacrifice has gone to waste.
Paying Off Debt Is Frustrating
Most Americans are in the same boat as you. We’ve all heard the stats. The average American owes $15,000 just in credit card debt.
It’s a pretty common problem that lacks an easy solution. Otherwise, everyone would be out of debt tomorrow.
Still, there are some steps you can take to simplify the process a bit.
Our own family has a big goal to pay off debt this year. It’s our #yearofno. But that hashtag motto isn’t the only tool we’re using to wage war against credit cards that have taken over too much of our lives.
I’m going to share another way we’re gaining ground in our debt battle with you today.
How to Get Out of Debt By Breaking Up Your Paycheck
Step One: Your Regular Checking Account
Here comes the b-word, and I hope you expected to see it here: budget. You’ve got to start with one! It’s the only way to get control over your money.
If making a budget never seems to work out, there’s a good chance that the problem is with the type of budget you’ve been using.
Trying to make a monthly budget work when you get paid every other week is like trying to use a squishy toy to fill in the blank spots on the puzzle you’ve been working on.
I mean, you might be able to make it work…but it ain’t gonna be pretty.
Instead, try a budget that was built just for people who get paid bi-weekly. Subscribers get it for free!
Step Two: The Other Accounts
Your checking account covers your every day bills.
But here’s the trick… don’t deposit your entire paycheck into that account.
You’ve got irregular bills and expenses, too. So let’s pay those in the laziest way possible.
I’m serious. Human beings are a lot like water. We’re basically on a mission to follow the path of least resistance.
The good news is that you can use that to your advantage.
How To Use Laziness to Your Advantage
You can automatically withdraw money from your paycheck (or checking account) on a regular basis. Then you won’t have to pay much attention to it. (Aside from an occasional check up.)
Everyone preaches that you should save for retirement, and starting yesterday is best. But you’ve never had the extra money to do it.
Unless you’ve already cut all your frivolous spending and still have no money left each month, you need to set this up now. Start with just 1% of your paycheck if you’re nervous about it.
Remember that this comes out of your paycheck before you pay any taxes. So you won’t even be missing the entire 1%.
And if your employee offers a match, you’re passing up free money! Only a crazy person would do that.
If you have a family, you probably have medical bills.
If you don’t meet the minimum to deduct medical bills from your taxes at the end of the year, look into a Flexible Spending Account. There’s no minimum spending requirement.
You’ll move some pretax money from your paycheck into the FSA each pay period. But be sure to estimate on the low end when you set it up.
The money in there is “use it or lose it”, meaning that if you don’t spend the whole amount by the end of your company’s fiscal year, the IRS keeps it. No one wants that!
Most companies will handle this for you, so ask about it at work.
An added benefit is knowing that money is available when we have to go to the emergency room. There’s always enough to worry about at that time without adding in money troubles.
The Debt Account
If you’re ready to make debt payment a priority, open a separate checking account.
Once you have your separate bank account, file direct deposit paperwork at work so part of every paycheck gets funneled right into your new account.
How much can you comfortably pay towards debt? For us, it was 15% of each paycheck.
Then, every pay period, pay your credit card bills from this account. It’s easy to do a debt snowball with this money. P
Pay minimum payments on all debts except the one you are ready to get rid of. Sock the rest of the money to that one debt.
By separating out this cash, it’s no longer part of your daily budget. Not having a debit card for this account makes it harder to get to. That makes the temptation to spend it on other things minimal.
Use your laziness to your advantage!
That separate account for paying off debt worked miracles.
So I got to wondering how else we could use this idea.
You know, like covering the huge bill that always comes with filling our big propane tank. Even though it happens every winter, we never seem to be ready for it.
To solve this problem, we used our Capital One 360 account. This is NOT a credit card! It’s an online bank account that you can easily access through a debit card or by linking it to your other bank account.
You can even set goals for yourself right on their website.
So we opened an account that I called “Heat Bill”. I set up an automatic withdrawal from our checking account that will deposit into this account every month.
Hubby gets biweekly paychecks. Twice a year we have a month with an “extra” paycheck.
People talk about this paycheck like it’s free and clear money. But that’s not entirely the case.
You’ll still need groceries, gas for the car, and other purchases that don’t stop coming just because it’s “extra paycheck time.”
But it is true that some of that money can be saved. And that “extra money” can cover irregular bills like semi-annual insurance payments.
You can get huge discounts when you pay for your entire insurance bill at once. Plus, you’ll love having one less monthly payment!
If you’re paying down debt, break up your paychecks and take the lazy way out!
What a sigh of relief you’ll heave when a bill comes in and you have money at the ready to pay. No more relying on credit cards for you!
Don’t forget to grab your bi-weekly budget!
Join the conversation on Facebook and let us know which of these tips you will begin with! And which tips are you already using successfully?