First, for those who have no debt, you are among a small percentage of the population. Going into debt is necessary for the average person to purchase a house. Not many people have enough cash lying around to buy a house over the weekend. This debt is obviously permitted even if you want to live on a strong financial foundation. The keys to the debt incurred for a house purchase is to do your research on interest rates, keep a good credit rating, and ensure that your monthly payment will fit within your current budget. Many web sites offer mortgage payment calculators to assist with this, but don't forget to factor in your other monthly expenses when comparing to your monthly income. If your monthly mortgage payments exceed your monthly income when added to your other monthly living expenses, you may have to either reconsider your home purchase, or find a less expensive home. The days of a starter-home do not have to be a thing of the past.
Now, if you already have plenty of debt to share with others, you may need a plan to help you get out of it. Although this can seem overwhelming, one simple principle can be applied to eventually rid yourself of the stress of such a burden. A debt elimination calendar most effectively illustrates the idea. Using the example below, you can easily create a spreadsheet with a column for each debt in the elimination plan. The idea would be to put the debt carrying the highest interest rate on the left in order to pay it off first, while still meeting other debt payments. As the higher interest-carrying debt is paid off, additional cash is freed up each month to put toward the next debt column. Individual circumstances and timelines will obviously vary depending on your personal cash inflow and payment requirements. Another key is to pay as much as your cash inflow and budget allow, not just the minimum payment. For example, if you are able to pay off all credit card debt, which usually carries the highest interest rate, as you begin the program, you are making a good investment since you will save yourself all the money that would have been paid in interest in the future. Be sure that your debt elimination sheet is consistent with your income and budget.
Debt Elimination Calendar
I think this is a mindset that needs to be one of the keys to building a strong financial foundation. It's not a one-time get-out-of-debt-and-I'm-done solution, but rather is a frame of mind that has to continue whether we are deep in debt or not. Helping build that financial foundation will help you withstand any economic storm.