Americans are very good at spending money we don’t have. We’re so good at it that the average household carries $15,355 in credit card debt and $129,579 in total debt. But it’s not totally our fault. According to a 2015 NerdWallet.com report, we’re spending more because prices are rising while our wages have stagnated.
Paying off your debt should be as simple as spending less than you make, however, actually doing it is much harder — especially when you haven’t eaten out in three weeks or need an emergency car repair.
To get out of debt, you’ll need two things: A strategic plan for saving money, and time. Without winning the lottery (a terrible plan for getting out of debt), clawing your way out of your financial sinkhole is going to be a slow-but-steady endeavor. And it won’t be sexy. “If your friends want to go out for dinner on Thursday but you’ve already used up your money for the week, take a rain check,” says Danny Kofke, a financial advisor and educator with the Arista Financial Group.
The sacrifices will be worth it though. “It’s hard to live the life you want when you’re in debt,” says Kofke. “But being debt-free really gives you the freedom to do it.” Here’s the plan to get you there.