Debt reduction tip: Make a plan to do something easy

It’s New Year’s Eve and a time for resolutions  It’s a time for fresh starts, for new commitments, for laser-sharp focus on all of our ills.

It’s no better time than the present to make a plan right now, but since this particular right now coincides with the new year, it’s an especially good right now.

What is the one specific action that you could start right now that would help you reduce your debt? It doesn’t really have to be big; in fact, the simpler, the better.  Maybe you’ll pack your lunch one more time a week, and add $10 per month to your credit card payment.  Something manageable, something easy, and something that you can stick with.

It doesn’t have to be the last thing you do toward your debt reduction.  Hopefully it won’t be.  But a plan to do something very easy will lead to plans to do other things that will build upon one another.

Debt reduction tip: Emergency! Emergency!

Throwing extra money against your consumer debt is a very good thing to do.  (The credit card companies hope that you don’t do this, because it allows them to charge you interest for a really long period of time, sometimes over a decade.)

So if throwing extra money at your debt is good, throwing more extra money is better, right?  Yes, but up to a point.  If you throw every last spare dime you have at your debt, it drains your bank account, and you’re left with no cash if the car breaks down, if you have a debilitating toothache, if your roof springs a leak, etc.  You have no emergency fund, and out come the credit card again, with an increase in your balance soon following.

The moral:  Build up an emergency fund so that if you need to shell out $500 or $1,000 for an unexpected expense, you have it to spend.  Building this up will slow your debt reduction, but the peace of mind is worth it.