When you are on your debt free journey it is important to have some support around you, both practical and emotional, in one form or another. Whether you find it in family and friends, books or through an online community, having support in place will ensure that you stay on track and achieve your financial goals. Here are 5 great tools to use on your debt free journey.
The Total Money Makeover Book
The Total Money Makeover is a book that I have spoken about on a number of occasions before and one that I will always recommend to anyone on a financial journey. It is the first of the great tools to use on your debt free journey. Dave Ramsey’s book takes you through a number of steps designed to help you get out of debt, secure your finances and plan for the future. Whether you are at the very beginning and in need of someone to hold your hand or you are well on your way to becoming financially free, this book can help you.
Dave also has a Youtube channel where he shares snippets of his radio show as well as many great advice videos. These are fantastic to listen to as they allow you to hear stories from others in the same position. The comfort of knowing that you’re not the only person in your situation is invaluable.
The Debt Free Community
When you find yourself faced with a mountain of debt and feel like there is no way out it can be incredibly lonely. Most people don’t talk openly about money and it can be very isolating. Thankfully there is an entire community online that speak openly about their money troubles and the steps they are taking to become debt free.
Predominantly found on Instagram, the Debt Free Community can be found by searching #debtfreecommunity. Many accounts even choose to share their financial figures openly. This is not only reassuring but motivational. Watching others make progress, whatever speed they are moving at, encourages you to be honest with yourself and motivates you to do something about your own debt.
A Physical Budget
It goes without saying that if you want to make a difference to your money habits and clear your debt you are going to need a budget. This is possibly the most important of all the great tools to use on your debt free journey. Whether it is something simple that helps you to keep track of your income and outgoings, or an in depth system such as the zero based budget that Dave Ramsey promotes, knowing exactly what you have and where it is going is the only way to take control of your finances.
There are so many different budgeting systems available. Personally I prefer to put pen to paper and write out my budget by hand each month. It forces me to think about each item that I’m writing down and allows me to be very conscious of the money that I’m bringing in and the money that I’m spending. There are a variety of paper money planners available, but I like to use this one.
The Cash Envelope System
Setting up your budget can really help you to handle your money well but sometimes we need to take things one step further. It is great to have the intention of managing your money as you should using your bank account and bank cards but if you struggle to stick to your plan, using cash envelopes may be a great additional tool for you.
The cash envelope system is something I’ve written about before. At the beginning of each week or month cash is withdrawn and placed in envelopes allocated for specific expenses in your budget. One might be for food shopping and another for filling your car with fuel for example. Having your budgeted amount in a physical capacity will help you to stick to spending that amount only and stay on track with your finances.
A Simple Saving Method
Whilst the main focus of your debt free journey will be paying down the money you owe, it is also really important to have a good savings method in place. Whether you are pulling together your emergency fund or preparing for upcoming costs, having money set aside will help you to avoid getting further into debt.
There are a number of approaches you might take but when money is tight I find that it helps to keep things simple. My favourites are skimming for digital saving and keeping a jar in the kitchen for loose change.
Different tools and forms of support work for different people. The important thing is to explore them and find something that suits you. Facing a debt mountain is hard, but when you have the right people around you and a good method of tackling your finances your debt journey becomes far more manageable.