Guest post from Jamie of Medium Sized Family:
Why is getting out of debt so hard? What makes it easier to pay a company month after month than to just get mad and get out from under that mess?
Humans tend to be lazy — we take the easy way out more often than not.
In my opinion, it’s actually harder to stay in debt than it is to knuckle down for a short period and pay it off. However, when we compare our paycheck to our bills, it can seem too overwhelming.
Yes, you can fight against that laziness and turn a new leaf… but what if there was another way? What if you could use your neglect to your advantage?
That’s the strategy our family is using in our #yearofno (our family motto that’s helping us to pay down a big chunk of debt this year.)
Here are 3 ways you can be “lazy” and still pay off debt.
1. Automate Payments
I don’t set up automatic payments for everything — but many consistent bills can be set up for automatic payment. The less you have to remember to do, the better. You won’t miss a due date and add late fees.
The trash bill, home phone, mortgage, and other bills with regular costs month after month are great candidates for automatic payment.
2. Simplify Budgeting
I like using these sites, because I can see at-a-glance how our budget is going. The site can tell you if you’re spending more in a category than usual. You can also set goals for yourself and watch the bar line grow as you meet them. That’s a great incentive for nerds (as Dave Ramsey calls us money crunchers)!
3. Break Up Your Paycheck
Another trick I use to handle irregular bills is automatic withdrawals. Automatic withdrawals are similar to the automatic payments I mentioned above; however with automatic withdrawals, YOU take money from your own bank account and put it into a separate bank account — usually for the purpose of saving for something or paying off debt.
Simply open a new bank account and set up an automatic withdrawal from your main checking account on a certain day of each month.
I have a few different accounts that cover various expenses. For instance, I have one account set up just for paying propane bills in the winter. I have $25 per month sent to that account, no matter the weather, so there is always money to pay the propane bill when it comes. I love the peace of mind I get from having that money at the ready when the bill rolls in.
This last tip has made a huge difference for us in paying off debt.
One day, I got the idea to siphon off the part of my Hubby’s paycheck that I’d been using to pay off debt. I didn’t increase the amount we were paying on debt, just changed the way I looked at it.
I opened a new online checking account for this purpose. I did not get a debit card for this account. I didn’t want to have easy access to this money. The only job of this account is to pay off debt.
After that, it was just a matter of filling out a form at work to have that amount directly deposited into the new account each pay period.
If I absolutely had to, I could move this money to our savings account. And I’ve done that on rare occasions. But more often than not, it’s easier to find a way to get creative than to move that money. Because I’m lazy!
This simple move helped us focus that money on paying off debt as intended. No more wasting “extra money” on impulse buys or seemingly urgent things. It kicked our debt repayment into high gear.
All of these tips put together have given us some powerful tools in controlling our money.
If you’ve been struggling with laziness, maybe it’s time to stop the fight. Use that laziness to your advantage, and finally get ahead in your fight against debt!
Jamie Jeffers blogs at Medium Sized Family. There she gives practical tips for saving money and simplifying life. Follow her family as they dig out of debt in their #yearofno, and be sure to grab the free Identify and Destroy Your Budget Busters course!