It's totally realistic for everyone to become debt-free in 2014, says Lynette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach. The number one thing to avoid debt and to get out of debt quickly is to not spend more than you earn. The math is never going to work in your favor - if you spend more than you earn, you will always be in debt. Prioritize and think about what is more important to you. At the end of the day, it's just stuff.
If you spend more than you make, you're going to be in debt.
You can also use software to track what's going on in your budget and keep tabs and where your money is going.
Make sure that you take into account all the money you're spending on clothing, eating out, holidays, gifts, etc. Everything you spend money on needs to be accounted for.
The 20% rule is when you think about what you're actually spending, a monthly bills total, add 20% to it because people generally under-budget themselves.
If you're trying to be debt-free in 2014, the one thing you shouldn't do is borrow from your 401K to do it, Lynette says. Every year, you put money in and the government gives you a tax break on that money. If you take money out (or borrow against it), you'll have to pay a penalty. For example, if you remove $10,000, you're going to have to pay $1,000 penalty and around $3,100 in taxes. That money is now reduced to $4,100, which is worse than a credit card!
How do you avoid spending more than you earn? How do you save? Tell us in the comments.
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