- Step 1: Calculate monthly expenses Calculate your monthly expenses--right down to how much gum you buy--and compare that with the money you have coming in.
- Step 2: Scale back If your expenses exceed your income, see what you can live without. Keep slashing away until you have enough to live on, plus at least $50 a month you can put aside for unforeseen emergencies.
- TIP: Don't forget to factor in periodic expenses like birthday gifts, haircuts, and school supplies.
- Step 3: Cancel your cards Cancel all your credit cards except one. Tuck that away for emergencies.
- Step 4: Set low limit Ask the credit card company to set a low limit on your card.
- TIP: Throw your change into a jar every night; when the jar is filled, put the money into a savings account.
- Step 5: Use debit card or cash Use a debit card or cash to pay for all purchases.
- Step 6: Find extra work If a large unexpected expense throws off your budget, consider taking on part-time work or odd jobs like babysitting until you're caught up.
- Step 7: Celebrate Now celebrate your freedom from debt--but not so much that you end up back where you started!
- FACT: The average American household has $9,000 in credit card debt.
You Will Need
- Debit card
- Jar for change
- Savings account
- Odd jobs