By Krista Tannahill

Most of us are not living debt free. With the popularity of the internet we have the unique ability to shop online anywhere any time. The ease of shopping on the internet has pressured many brick and mortar stores to stay open seven days a week twenty four hours a day. Not only can you drop by a grocery store at two in the morning but you can also click onto the internet and buy whatever your heart desires. As a result our hard earned money is slipping through our fingers at an alarming rate.

It is time to take control of our spending and saving habits so that we can save for vacation, retirement and unexpected emergencies. Here are several strategies for living debt free.

Know Your Finances

One of the first steps to living debt free is to be aware of how you spend money. Credit card bills, bank statements and other financial statements should be reviewed and filed away every single month. It is critical to examine your finances on a monthly basis so you can see how you are spending and to find ways to reduce debt.

Examine each statement for unnecessary charges or fees. Many times there are hidden fees tucked away within your statement and it takes a careful review of each charge to find these hidden monthly fees. Credit card statements, cell phone bills, internet or wireless service and bank statements will often charge customers for ”extras” that are not being used by the customer.

Plan for Taxes & Retirement

Two of the most important considerations when creating a financial strategy or debt reduction plan include taxes and retirement savings. With each and every paycheck you need to set money aside for your retirement and for tax time. If you end up not owing any money on your yearly taxes consider moving the money you saved for taxes into your pension or retirement plan.

Pay Off Credit Cards

Credit cards are convenient but are excessively costly. Most of us only need one credit card that should be set aside for emergency purposes only. Take the necessary steps to consolidate all your credit cards into one card and pay the card off.

When making monthly payments on credit card debt make sure you are paying more than the minimum payment. Many times the minimum payments are not enough to keep your head above water and end up leaving you further and further in debt. Budget your finances so that you are paying more than the minimum payment being charged.

Reduce Spending

This is the hardest part in the plan to live debt free. Stores make it so easy to spend, spend and spend. With easy access to credit cards and numerous buy-now-and pay-later schemes you can easily be sucked in to paying more and owing more.

In order to reduce your spending you need to leave your credit card at home. Set it aside for emergency purposes and pay the card off. Your goal is to become and remain debt free so keeping your credit card in your wallet or purse is not going to help reduce your spending habits.

Do not head to the mall or store to ”window shop” or look around. Companies spend millions of dollars every year to get customers to buy things they do not need. Instead of putting yourself in a tempting situation avoid the mall altogether.

When buying groceries plan out your meals in advance and only buy the necessary ingredients for each meal. Take your lunch to work and bring your own coffee. These small steps add up. Calculate how much money you spend on lunches and coffee on a weekly basis and find out how much money you will save each month.

When working to pay off debt and live a debt free life it is important to drastically reduce spending habits.

Live Within Your Means

Creativity is important when living debt free. Consider cancelling your cell phone and using a prepaid card. Instead of going to the movies, rent a movie or go for a walk with a friend. Rather than eat out at a restaurant enjoy a barbeque at home or a picnic in the park. If you feel the need to shop, don’t go to the mall go to thrift stores and yard sales instead.

Living within your means is not always as fun or exciting as spending large sums of money and buying brand new items. However, the freedom associate with debt free living cannot be matched. Not only will you be debt free but you will also be stress free!

This article is supplied by a guest writer and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Debt Fix Pty Ltd

When deciding on a product or course of action Debt Fix Pty Ltd recommends that you always seek independent advice.