While there’s lots of attention paid to getting out of debt, there’s less guidance on how to stay debt-free once you’ve achieved zero balances with creditors. To help rectify this situation, we’re sharing the following tips from CreditCard.com to help you maintain a debt-free status over the long-term.
Remember the agony
Living in debt is not fun. It’s stressful and causes anxiety. Keeping these unpleasant memories alive (try writing them down) is an important way to deter yourself when you’re tempted to buy something you can’t afford. Reviewing your own words about the negative effect of debt will help you avoid going down the same path again.
Sometimes you need the support of loved ones who know what you’re trying to achieve, financially speaking. In fact, declaring your goal of remaining debt free can be helpful as long as those that you share it with remain positive and supportive.
Loosen the purse strings
While it may seem counter intuitive, spending a little bit more can help you spend a little bit less. Just like when you are trying to reduce your food intake on a diet, if you’re too stringent, you may end up overeating when you finally do indulge. The same is true for spending money. You need to re-establish a little wiggle room in your budget for an occasional splurge.
If access to an abundance of credit is hard to resist, then reduce the number of cards and other sources of credit that you use. The less credit you have, the less likely you will overspend.
Keep a visual reminder of your debt
Sometimes just looking at a huge credit card will from your indebted past is enough to keep you “honest.” Put your visual reminder in a prominent place if necessary—or tuck it in a desk drawer to look at when you are feeling vulnerable. While these tips are helpful, you may also wish to seek professional advice if you feel that you are backsliding on your budget goals or need extra help managing your credit.